Maitreya (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

early to mid-9th century
gilded copper alloy with silver and copper inlay
probably Nalanda, Bihar, India
Overall: 5 1/2 × 3 3/4 × 2 3/4 in. (13.97 × 9.53 × 6.99 cm)
This compact Buddhist bronze shows the Bodhisattva Maitreya, seated on a lotus pedestal and surrounded by an elaborate areole of flowers and flames. Enthroned in heaven, he awaits his next rebirth, when he will descend to earth as a Buddha to save all sentient beings. Two key iconographic features identify him: the small stupa in his crown and the even smaller vase - containing the elixir of immortality - at the end of the stalk held in his left hand. His right hand is held down in the gift-giving gesture.
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Gift of Paul Mellon
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 28, p. 126)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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