On this page you will find a sampling of the numismatic oddities called Hell Bank Notes or money intended for use in the afterlife. These are notes used in traditional Asian ancestor veneration to ensure that spirits have lots of good things in the afterlife. These bank notes are well known for their outrageously large denominations and most feature an image of the Jade Emperor, and his Western signature (Yu Wong, or Yuk Wong) countersigned by Yan luo, King of Hell (Yen Loo). The back of each bill usually features an image of the bank of Hell. Some bills will depict famous or mythological people instead.
In Chinese mythology, the name of hell does not carry a negative connotation. The hell they refer to is Di Yu (underground hold/court). Di Yu is a maze of underground levels and chambers where souls are taken to atone for their earthly sins. The popular story is that the word hell was introduced to China by Christian missionaries, who preached that all non-Christian Chinese people would "go to hell" when they died. It was then believed that the word "Hell" was the proper English term for the afterlife. Some notes omit the word "hell" and sometimes will replace it with "heaven" or "paradise".
These notes often depict different images for decoration or to convey symbolic information. There are several ways to send Spirit Money to one's departed relatives -- it can be thrown to the winds during the funeral procession, left on a grave at any time, or burned in ceremonial fires.