Temple looks to past as well as future

Updated 2017-05-03 10:00:32 Shanghai Daily

Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple yesterday exhibited 100 Chinese paintings and calligraphy works about how the temple looked before undergoing major renovation.

More than 10 renowned local artists were invited to live in the temple to create the paintings and calligraphy about the temple's architecture before renovations began in July 2014.

"The artistic works become valuable historic archives to tell what the temple originally looked like," said Juexing, the temple's abbot. A painting album with all the works included was also publicized along with the exhibition.

The exhibits include traditional Chinese paintings, modern oil paintings, sketches and poems describing the temple and the feelings of worshipers.

In one of the exhibits, Chen Xiejun, the former curator of the Shanghai Museum, painted the main pavilion of the temple under both sunrise and moonlight.

"I feel privileged to be part of the painting project because the Chinese traditional arts and cultures have always been connected with Buddhism," said Chen.

The temple's main pavilion is being moved 30 meters as part of the major, and continuing, renovation project that will also see two buildings replaced. The Grand Hall, dating from 1918, is moved to the north along with three huge Buddha statues inside.

The renovations are set to create more room for worshipers and address fire safety concerns at the popular temple on Anyuan Road, according to the abbot.

The temple is a popular attractions, attracting 1.5 million visitors a year, a third of them from abroad.

The temple remains open during the renovation. The painting exhibition, which is free, runs until Sunday.

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