|15th century, Central Tibet.|
This exceptional, gilded, cast-copper alloy image of the bhodistattva Maitreya is especially beautiful and well proportioned.
The bodhisattva is seated in bhadrasana with his legs draped over the front of the pedestal with the feet resting on a lotus support. His hands are in the dharmachakramudra posture ('turning the Wheel of Law'). Lotus blossoms are cast to each shoulder and on these are Maitreya's attributes, the kundika vessel (see here for an example) and a chakra. He wears a dhoti engraved with flowers, and abundant jewellery including large earrings, a multi-peaked crown, anklets, garlands and bracelets. Unusually, he also has pendant garlands draped over the knees.
The image has a particularly fine face with refined features. His gaze is downcast with a hint of a smile. His look is austere but compassionate.
Apart from being gilded, the image has traces of pigment - the hair is colour blue and there are pigment traces about the crown to denote jewels.
This depiction of the bodhisattva is associated with Maitreya as the future Buddha, who is ready to rise from his throne and come into this world (Spink,1995). Maitreya (in Tibetan byams.pa) means 'Loving One'. He is the Buddha of the next age (kalpa) and resides n the Tushita heaven. He is destined to appear in this world to teach the Dharma (Buddhist Law), an age that will be a complete victory for Buddhism. The cult of Maitreya reflects messianic tendencies in the Vajrayana school.
|Location of Origin: Asia|
|Medium/Materials: gilded, cast-copper alloy|
|Dimensions: height: 22.8cm width: 12cm|
|Primary Classification: Asian Art : Himalayan / Tibetan / Nepalese|
|The image was acquired by the previous (UK-based owner) at Spink. The image itself appears in two Spink catalogies. A related image, probably from the same workshop and also attributed to the fifteenth century, is published in Arts of Asia, 2011, p. 10.|
The image here is in excellent condition. The consecration is intact.
References: Heller, A., Tibetan Art: Tracing the Development of Spiritual Ideals and Art in Tibet, 600-2000 AD, Jaca Books, 2000. Spink, The Mirror of the Mind: Art of Vajrayana Buddhism, Spink London, 1995. Spink, The Path to Enlightenment: Buddhist Art Through the Ages, Spink Singapore, 1997.
Published: Spink, The Mirror of the Mind: Art of Vajrayana Buddhism, Spink London, 1995 (page 32). Spink, The Path to Enlightenment: Buddhist Art Through the Ages, Spink Singapore, 1997 (page 42 & inside back cover.)
|Provenance: Private collection, UK; acquired from Spink, 1997.|
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