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The Paradise of Maitreya wall-painting
Zhu Haogu and Zhang Boyuan
Ink and colour on clay
Centimetres: 502 (height), 1101 (width)
Yuan dynasty (1271-1368)
Area of Origin: Xiaoning Cun,Jishan Xian, Shanxi Province, China
Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art

Description: Painted more than seven centuries ago, the mural The Paradise of Maitreya once adorned a wall of a Buddhist monastery in China that no longer exists today. Created by the famed painter Zhu Haogu in 1298, the richly coloured mural depicts an imagined heaven with Maitreya, or Buddha of the future, as the central figure. Related deities and guardians surround him along with a king and queen converting to Buddhism, their heads being shaved in preparation. Few museums outside China have examples of such murals. The ROM’s is one of the best-preserved Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) temple wall paintings in the world. Shipped in 1928, it arrived at the Museum in 63 sections and was painstakingly restored in 1933. It’s still possible to see where some of the sections were joined together. As part of the Renaissance ROM project, in 2005 The Paradise of Maitreya received another much-needed conservation treatment, restoring it to its full magnificence. The mural is the centrepiece of the ROM’s Bishop White Gallery, which holds one of the world’s most important collections of Chinese temple art.

Publications: Ka Bo Tsang (2006) The Paradise of Maitreya: A Yuan Dynasty Mural from Shanxi Province, Orientations, Volume 37 Number 3, April 2006. Far Eastern Dept., Royal Ontario Museum. Homage to Heaven Homage to Earth (Toronto: 1992), pl. 132. White, W.C. (1940) Chinese Temple Frescoes: A Study of Three Wall-Paintings of the Thirteenth Century. Museum Studies no. 3. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Pp. 122-153 White, W.C. (1937) "Chinese Temple Fresco No. 1" Bulletin of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology 12 (July) pp. 1-32 Fernald . H. E. "Chinese Frescoes from the ROM" ROMA Bulletin 14; Giuganino, a. La Pittura Cinese (Rome: Instituto poligrafico dello stato 1959) pls. 274-5. Heinrich, T.A. Art Treasures in the ROM p. 60; The Bishop White Gallery (ROM 1990). Qin, Lingyun. (1960) Zhongguo bihua yishy (the art of Chinese wall painting). Beijing: Renmin Meishu Chubanshe . 16 pls. 60,62,-64. - (1958) Minjian huagong shiliao (A historical survey of folk painters). Zhongguo gudian yishu chubanshe Fig. 58 Tam, Laurence C.S. (1975) The Maitreya Paradise. MA Dissertation Toronto: University of Toronto. Lippe, A. ''Buddha and the Holy Multitude, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. XXIII (May 1965 p. 329; Chinese Art in the ROM #118. Siren, Osvald (1958) Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles. Vol. 6. London: Lund Humphries. Figs. 1,2 Tsang Ka Bo. ''Chinese Paintings in the ROM'' Arts of Asia IX/2 March-April 1979 pp. 108-109. Steinhardt, Nancy S. (1987) "Zhu Haogu Reconsidered: A New Date for the ROM Painting and the Southern Shanxi Buddhist-Daoist style" Artibus Asiae XLVIII 1/2 pp.:5-38. Tsang, Ka Bo. (1992) "Dissection of a Fourteenth-century Contention: Further Observations on the Yuan Wall Painter Zhu Haogu and the Relationship of the Chunyang Hall Wall Paintings to 'The Maitreya Paradise' at the ROM" Artibus Asiae, LII pp.94-118 Zeng, Jiabao. Zhongguo wenwu shijie 52 Dno. 12 (December): 109-21.

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