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Seated Maitreya

Asian Art

On View: Asian Galleries, Arts of the Himalayas, 2nd floor
Many Buddhists believe that another Buddha, named Maitreya, is waiting to descend to earth. When he arrives, he will reintroduce Buddhist teachings to humankind. This image shows Maitreya making hand gestures associated with teaching.

The monasteries of Tibet attracted scholars, patrons, and artists from distant areas of Asia, and the style of this image reflects the cosmopolitan nature of Tibetan Buddhist art. The Buddha’s clinging robe, with its stylized folds, derives from representations made in Nepal and eastern India, while the spiked hair curls and broad face are more typical of Chinese Buddhist sculptures.
MEDIUM Gilt copper alloy
  • Place Made: Tibet
  • DATES 13th–14th century
    DIMENSIONS 10 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 3 in. (26 x 19.1 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1967, provenance not yet documented; 1967, acquired in India by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya (Tibetan: bYams-pa) seated in the lotus position (padmasana), his hands held in a teaching gesture. The figure is dressed in a monastic garment, which is drawn over both shoulders, its stylized folded drapery traceable to Indian prototypes. An open lotus blossom with petal turned downward rises from behind the figure's left arm. It is surmounted by a stupa, and there is a stupa in the figure's headdress; the stupas identify the subject as Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. Tenons on bottom of figure would have attached it to a base, probably a lotus-shaped pedestal, which is no longer present. Condition: Generally good except for wearing of the gilding on parts of the figure and spots of bronze disease on legs, arms, hands, and face which were treated immediately.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Asian Galleries, Arts of the Himalayas, 2nd floor
    CAPTION Seated Maitreya, 13th–14th century. Gilt copper alloy, 10 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 3 in. (26 x 19.1 x 7.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 67.80. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 67.80_front_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 67.80_front_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2022
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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