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Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, April 2006
Creator: Brian Boyle
Date of Image: April 2006
ROM Links: Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art
Museum ID Number: ROM2006_7165_7
Image Number: ROM2006_7165_7

The Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art features one of the most important collections of Chinese temple art in the world. The collection features three of the world’s best-preserved Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271 – 1368) temple wall paintings from Shanxi Province and a collection of large, richly-painted wooden sculptures, depicting bodhisattvas (Buddhas-to-be and helpers of humankind) from the 12th to 15th centuries.

The Paradise of Maitreya, the largest of the three murals depicts the Buddha of the Future (Maitreya, successor to the Buddha of the current age, Shakyamuni, who died in the 5th century BC) enthroned in his Paradise. Located on the east and west walls are two slightly smaller murals, both entitled Homage to the Highest Power. Originating from northern China, the murals depict Daoist deities proceeding through an ethereal world. Created in about AD 1325, they were acquired by the ROM in 1937.

The gallery is named in honour of William Charles White (1873-1960), the first Anglican Bishop from Canada to be stationed in Henan, China between 1909 and 1934, and subsequently the first curator of the ROM’s Chinese collections.

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