Hell Bank Notes
Hell bank notes are a form of joss paper
Joss paper
Joss paper , also known as ghost money, are sheets of paper and/or paper-crafts made into burnt offerings which are common in traditional Chinese religious practices including the veneration of the deceased on holidays and special occasions...

 printed to resemble legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 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. The notes are not an officially recognized currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 or legal tender since their sole intended purpose is to be offered as burnt-offerings to the deceased as often practiced by the Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

 and several East Asian cultures
In areal linguistics, Sinosphere refers to a grouping of countries and regions that are currently inhabited with a majority of Chinese population or were historically under Chinese cultural influence...


The identification of this type of joss paper as "hell bank notes" and singling them out is largely a western
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 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.
The word hell on hell bank notes refers to Diyu , which is also called dìfǔ (Chinese: 地府; meaning "underworld court").