GREEN HORSE'S HEAD FOR MAITREYA'S CART
The Maitreya Festival held at the monastic residence of the Bogdo Gegen in Urga (modern Ulaanbaatar) was the most spectacular Buddhist ceremony in Outer Mongolia. The festival occurred in the spring, on the last day of the New Year's celebration. Maitreya's horse-headed cart (pictured in no. 42) was pushed around the ceremonial circle by monks, who stopped at the cardinal points to chant prayers. Zanabazar's sculpture of Maitreya (no. 100) was carried in the cart at Urga. This wooden horse's head survives from an early twentieth-century Maitreya cart used at Urga. A mane of dyed red horsehair lends an endearing lifelike sense to the monk-artist Damdinsuren's creation.