According to Buddhist doctrine the spirit journeys to a final destination upon death but those who meet wrongful death remain suspended in an ambiguous area. These spirits, commonly of women and fallen heros, maifest themselves as ghosts who obsessivly haunt and torment those responsible for their sordid deaths. Through persistant praying by the living, these malevolent spirits can be purified of their anger. They can then become ancestral spirits who are guardians of their families.
[Japanese, Edo period, 19th century. Ôhara Donshû, Japanese, died in 1857. Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on silk. Signed: ｢呑舟印｣]