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In Chapter Two of Kill Bill, The blood-splattered BRIDE, 21st minute, as the camera looks through the eyes of Elle as she walks up to the room where Beatrix lies in coma, the centerpiece of the frame is occupied by a strange painting on the wall just past the fire exit marked EXIT.

unknown painting in the distance

What does this painting mean? It looks like some sort of an altar to me so my first guess is that it is a reference to a kung fu movie. Does it ring a bell to you?

  • 1
    IIRC when Elle enters the hospital, there's also an interesting religious mural right at the entrance, if anyone can find a picture. Maybe it's connected. – Walt Aug 28 '15 at 17:11
  • I have played with that picture for a while, trying to increase contrast and such: I have no idea what it could be: I post a zoom of the (I think) bas-relief, maybe someone has some ideas: i.stack.imgur.com/8dQV2.jpg IMHO it is just a joke... – mattiav27 Aug 28 '15 at 19:48
  • If anyone know the hospital where it was filmed? – cde Aug 28 '15 at 22:05
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    @cde St. Luke's Medical Center in Pasadena, CA., USA – steelersquirrel Aug 29 '15 at 4:22
  • @steelerfan Wasn't that the hospital she's later in and breaks out of? Or is it the same one? – Walt Aug 29 '15 at 7:04
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close-up on unknown painting

This is a screenshot from my computer, as you can see I tried to blow it up as much as I could at the highest quality I could. Then I did a reverse image search and found nothing. Now I'm really curious too.

The truth is, this could be included for no reason in regards to audiences as a whole. Maybe Tarantino saw it in the location he was shooting at and liked it so much he didn't have it removed.

Maybe it is symbolic though. That looks like the face of a tiger at the top, maybe? It wouldn't explain what's protruding from it's face. Also at the bottom that is probably a flower? I don't know.

There is no mention of this being symbolic in any interview about Kill Bill I found, and I can't seem to find any discussion about it anywhere else either. I'm sorry I can't help you, but I have a feeling that this will never be decoded unless someone knows EXACTLY what that is and brings it up online (such as, the artist of the painting. Is it even a painting?)


Just checked the script. No mention there either.

  • 3
    I'm reasonably certain it's a seated human figure. Then again, I may be going completely "Rorschach" on you. – user7812 Dec 9 '15 at 22:24
  • I'm trying so hard to see what you see and it's hurting my eyes. haha. – Atticus Dec 9 '15 at 22:27
  • With crossed legs like a buddha. – user7812 Dec 9 '15 at 22:28
  • I kinda see it. – Atticus Dec 9 '15 at 22:29
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Buddha was mentioned in the comment.
I don't have sources, but my impression is also that it is a stylised drawing of Buddha.

Some of Buddha depictions often look like this drawing, I find it had quite some similarities with the one appearing in the movie :

Buddha depiction

The bottom of the drawing in the movie looks like a flower.
I am not an expert, but I think that the lotus flower is a recurrent symbol in Buddhism. It grows in dirty, muddy water, but turns out to be a beautiful flower.

This symbolism seems to fit the movies at different levels:

  • the hospital where the drawing is seen, is the place where "resurrections" happen - illustrated by the iconic scenes depicting the Bride's awakening.

  • even if revenge is surely not the recommended way to reach it, the movies picture the path of Beatrix towards enlightenment: she wakes up from the dark regions of her coma to return as a fierce warrior - but finally discovers higher truths about herself, including the knowledge of her being a Mother.

  • the movies take many inspirations from the Orient; these drawings might have been left on purpose, to assert the "spirit" of the story.

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