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The Assembly of Tejaprabha

The Assembly of Tejaprabha

The Assembly of Tejaprabha

Date: Early 14th century
Medium: Ink and mineral colors on clay
Dimensions:
23 feet 5 inches x 48 feet 8 inches (713.74 x 1483.36 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
Object number: 32-91/1
On view
Current Location:G, 230
DescriptionHenso type with great central Buddha seated cross-legged, flanked by numerous Bodhisattvas and their individual followers.
Gallery LabelThe Assembly of Tejaprabha
China
Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), early 14th century
Ink and mineral colors on clay

This mural comes from a monastery in Shanxi province called the Temple of Expansive Victory (Guangshengsi). Tejaprabha, Buddha of Radiant Light, was believed to control the constellations and to protect against celestial catastrophes. An earthquake severely damaged the monastery in 1303, and it is possible that this mural was commissioned in response to that calamity.

Tejaprabha sits here on a lotus throne surrounded by a constellation of figures representing the Eleven Celestial Luminaries-the Sun, Moon, and Five Planets of traditional Chinese astronomy and the four imaginary Dark Stars. The painting technique uses strong sweeping outlines of black ink, filled with bright mineral colors, particularly cinnabar red and malachite green, with a subtle use of blue highlights. The figures are solemn and substantial, counterbalanced by fluid drapery lines, flying scarves and transparent haloes that give the mural a sense of light gracefulness and intense, but restrained, energy. 

Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 32-91/1
Provenance

Lower Guangsheng Monastery, Hongdong, Shanxi province, China

C. T. Loo;

Purchased from C. T. Loo by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, 1932.

Published References

Oswald Siren, The History of Later Chinese Painting, vol. 1 (London: The Medici Society, 1938), 26 (repro.).

Laurence Sickman, “Notes on Later Chinese Buddhist Art,” Parnassus (April 1939), 12-17, illus (repro.).

The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, The William Rockhill Nelson Collection, 2nd ed. (Kansas City, MO: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, 1941), 120, fig. 22 (repro.).

Alexander C. Soper, “Hsiang-Kuo-Ssǔ. An Imperial Temple of Northern Sung,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. LXVIII, no. 1 (January – March 1948), 19-45, doi: 10.2307/596233 (repro.).

The William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, The William Rockhill Nelson Collection, 3rd ed. (Kansas City, MO: William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, 1949), 157 (repro.).

Julia S. Berrall, “History of Flowers Arrangement,” (London; New York: Studio Publications in association with Crowell, 1953), 106, fig. 129 (repro.).

Aschwin Lippe, Metropolitan Museum of Arts Bulletin, no. 5, Part 1 (New York: May 1965), 32 (repro.).

Aschwin Lippe, “Buddha and the Holy Multitude,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 23, No. 9, Part 1 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May, 1965), 325-335, pl. 5, http://www,jstor,org/stable/3258142 (repro.).

Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt, “Zhu Haogu Reconsidered: A New Date for the ROM Painting and the Southern Shanxi Buddhist-Daoist,” Artibus Asiae, vol.XLVIII, no. ½ (1987), 12-17, fig. 5 (repro.).

Anning Jing, The Water God’s Temple of the Guangsheng Monastery (Boston, Koln: Brill 2002) (repro.).

Deborah Emont Scott, ed., The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: A Handbook of the Collection, 7th ed. (Kansas City, MO: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2008), 350, pl. 206 (repro.).

Colin Mackenzie, with contributions by Ling-En Lu, Masterworks of Chinese art: the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Mo.: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2011), 82, no. 21 (repro.).

Ling-en Lu, “Pigment Style and Workshop Practice in the Yuan Dynasty Wall Paintings from the Lower Guangsheng Monastery” in Original Intentions: Essays on Production, Reproduction, and Interpretation in the Arts of China, edited by Nick Pearce and Jason Steuber (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2012), 74-137, numerous figures (repro.).