Yama Pat a canvas with paintings on the life hereafter, and is chiefly in use among the Hindus. The paintings depict the after-death judgement by Yama, the god of death, sufferings in hell, and the rewards of heaven. The paintings related to hell are usually horrid and abominable. But the paintings depicting the rewards feature attractively the amorous sports of the pious with beautiful women.
The yama pat paintings are mostly used as tools of moral education rather than as object of arts. The style of these paintings is usually crude and vulgar. Yama pats were in currency in the seventh century before the birth of Christ. At that time, a group of people, known as Maskari, tried to impart ethics and religious instruction by showing these pictures. The Maskaris used to paint scenes of sinners being tormented and the dreaded figure of the god of death. The patuas of Bengal generally narrate various stories through their paintings and draw the hell scene at the end. The ancient custom of yama pat is still extant in society. [Yas Vanu Begum]