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Miroku (Maitreya)

弥勒菩薩像

1300s
Mounted: 197 x 58.7 cm (77 9/16 x 23 1/8 in.); Painting only: 110.6 x 40.7 cm (43 9/16 x 16 in.)
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Location: not on view

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Description

In this image the figure of Miroku, Maitreya in Sanskrit, is richly adorned with gauzy fabrics, opulent jewels, and an intricate gold crown containing five seated Buddhas. Buddhist teachings say that Miroku will descend to Earth as a Buddha to restore Buddhist doctrine at the end of a long period of decline. Here he is represented as a bodhisattva, a being who has attained enlightenment but has chosen to postpone becoming a Buddha to help others reach enlightenment. Above the painting, three inscriptions present portions of a sacred text related to Miroku. A close look at the bodhisattva’s right side where fragile pigments have fallen away reveals writing on the back of the silk on which the image is painted— something its mounters never expected to be seen.
Miroku (Maitreya)

Miroku (Maitreya)

1300s

Japan, Nanbokuchō period (1336-92)

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