Tathagata Buddha

Tathagata Buddha

오여래도 (五如來圖)

late 1800s

Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper

Overall: 214 x 69.4 cm (84 1/4 x 27 5/16 in.)

Worcester R. Warner Collection 1918.542


Korean Buddhist painting was much admired by Westerners at the beginning the 20th century, and then fell out of sight until the 1970s. As the painting hung continuously for many years in the museum's Asian art galleries, its condition began to deteriorate and cracks developed across the surface. This was caused by constant exposure and the relatively thick backing papers, which affected the painting's structure during the rolling and unrolling of the scroll over the decades. Long diagonal tears also appeared precisely in the area of the figure's chest and face, disfiguring it. Treatment of this scroll involved the laborious task of removing all the original paper supports and then substituting more pliable backing papers in two layers. Surface losses were consolidated, and then in-painted judiciously, or left untouched. The blue textile mounting is the original fabric, cleaned and conserved.

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