Bodhisattva Maitreya: The Future Buddha

Bodhisattva Maitreya: The Future Buddha


Silver inlaid with turquoise, copper, brass and gold; gilt bronze lotus

Overall: 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 1982.48



Dressed as a prince like all bodhisattvas, Maitreya is identifiable by the pot of nectar of immortality above his left shoulder. According to Buddhists, Maitreya will be reborn in the distant future to renew and reestablish the religion of Buddhism on earth, like the historical Buddha Shakyamuni did in the 400s BC. The blue paint on his hair indicates that this sculpture was used in Tibet. It was probably brought to Tibet, likely during the 1100s to 1200s when Buddhists relocated en masse from politically unstable northeastern India to Nepal and Tibet, where Buddhism was expanding and Indian masters, texts, and art were in high demand.

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