University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object Number: C688
Current Location: Collections storage
Provenience: China
Period: Ming Dynasty
Date Made: C. 1476
Early Date: 1476
Late Date: 1496
Iconography:Bhaisajyaguru Buddha
Medicine Buddha
Yaksa General
Height: 5.33m
Width: 8.8m
Credit Line:Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1927


Mural painting from temple wall. Complete wall, total of 23 sections. The central figure in this mural is Bhaisajyaguru, the Healing or Medicine Buddha. He is associated with longevity and guards against untimely death, nightmares, evil apparitions, vicious animals, robbers, thieves, and invading states. The Bodhisattvas of the Moon and Sun, identified by the aureoles or circular lights around their heads, form a triad with the Buddha.

Bhaisajyaguru is also accompanied by the Twelve Guardian Generals who represent the Buddha's twelve vows. The Generals make offerings to the Buddha so he will grant their wishes and free them from suffering. They have pledged to protect those who inform others about Bhaisajyaguru.

Worshippers turned to this image to try and visualize themselves in paradise, a beautiful place with jeweled trees, palaces, lotus ponds, musicians, and dancers. Some believed that worshippers could be reborn in paradise by simply reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha rather then through meditation and austerities.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)View Objects in Exhibition
Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)View Objects in Exhibition
World Tour of Bodies of Culture: Body Modification (1996)View Objects in Exhibition


[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 92, Fig. 26; Pg. 93, Fig. 28View Objects cited in this Publication
[Book] Jing, Anning. 2002. The Water God's Temple of the Guangsheng Monastery: Cosmic Function of Art, Ritual, & Theater. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 211-212, Fig. 4-18View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Baldwin, Michelle. 1994. Monumental Wall Paintings of the Assembly of the Buddha from Shanxi Province: Historiography, Iconography, Three Styles, and a New Chronology. Artibus Asiae. 54 (3/4): 241-267.View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Jing, Anning. 1991. The Yuan Buddhist Mural of the Paradise of Bhaisajyaguru. Metropolitan Museum Journal. Volume 26: 147-166.View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 1987. Zhu Haogu Reconsidered: A New Date for the Rom Painting and the Southern Shanxi Buddhist-Daoist Style. Artibus Asiae. Volume XLVIII ( 1/2)View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Ka-bo, Tsang. 1979. Royal Ontario Museum, Far Eastern Department. Arts of Asia. 9 (2): Chinese Paintings.View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Lippe, Aschwin. 1965. Buddha and the Holy Multitude. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. 23 (9): p. 325-335. : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 15View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1941. The Chinese Collections of The University Museum: A Handbook of the Principal Objects. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (2-3) : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 16 Fig. 10View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] 1929. Recent Museum Acquisitions - Eastern Art. Parnassus. Volume I (December) (No. 8): pg. 30. : Page/Fig./Plate: 30View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1929. Two Sections of Chinese Fresco Newly Acquired. The Museum Journal. Volume XX (No. 2): 119-130. : Page/Fig./Plate: 119-129View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Miller, J. L. 1928. "Ancient Chinese Wall Paintings: Recently Brought to This Country by the University of Pennsylvania Museum". The Mentor. 16 (3 (April)): 41-44. : Page/Fig./Plate: 43-44View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1928. Another Fresco from Moon Hill Monastery. The Museum Journal. Volume XIX (2) : Page/Fig./Plate: 109-129View Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Yetts, W. P. 1927. Some Buddhist Frescoes from China. The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. Volume 51 ( No. 294) : Page/Fig./Plate: 121-128, Plates I, IIView Objects cited in this Publication
[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1926. Chinese Frescoes of the T'ang Dynasty in the Museum, 618-906 A.D. The Museum Journal. Volume XVII (No. 3) : Page/Fig./Plate: 229-244View Objects cited in this Publication

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