Hell bank note

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Hell bank notes are a form of joss paper printed to resemble legal tender bank notes. This faux money has been in use since at least the late 19th century and possibly much earlier. Early 20th century examples took the resemblance of minor commercial currency of the type issued by businesses across China until the mid 1940s.Hell bank notes are not an officially recognized currency or legal tender anywhere in the world, as their sole intended purpose are burnt-offerings to the deceased as often practiced by the Chinese. The identification of this type of joss paper as "hell bank notes" and singling them out is largely a western phenomenon, since these items are simply regarded as yet another form of joss paper (冥幣, 陰司紙, 紙錢, or 金紙) in East Asian cultures and have no special name or status.

Earlier examples of these notes were issued in denominations of $5 and $10 yuan and upwards, with such amounts being considered adequate until inflation took hold within China from 1944. The soaring denominations of authentic currency was soon reflected in that issued for the afterlife, and after 1945 the majority of Hell banknotes were issued in denominations of $10,000 or higher. These earlier issues more commonly depict landscape scenes, temples or trains, and the numerous varieties may literally number into the...
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