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Early Tibetan Gallery

 

 

Maitreya
Central Tibet. 15th Century.

In this piece we see Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, seated upon his throne in the heavens, awaiting his call to minister on earth. The word Maitreya means "The Loving One" and reflects the concern he has for his future ministry.

Of immediate note is the density of decoration so commonly found on pieces of the 15-16th century. For example, Maitreya is surrounded by swirling scarves, frequently a motif found in Tibetan art of the 15-16th. centuries (and somewhat earlier) intended to suggest the royal scarf worn by Iranian kings of the Sassanian Dynasty (ended 6th cent a.d.)
The jewellry worn by Maitreya is also regal in its nature and while Maitreya sits in his heavenly realm, not yet an ascetic, he adopts a royal form.
The lotus motif is also found on this figure as supports for his feet and as bases for his attributes, the opening lotus blossom and the pot of water, both found at shoulder height. Both supports for these attributes are on lotus stems with buds in five or six stages of opening and the stems are connected to his hands by filaments. The stupa which should be in the chignon of Maitreya's hair is not apparent but is instead worked into the top of the water pot at his shoulder.

Height 19cm

 

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