India, 7th c. Maitreya

7th century, India, buddha of the future Maitreya, copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA)

7th century, India, buddha of the future Maitreya, copper alloy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA)

This early sculpture, from the Gupta period, represents Maitreya with his usual attributes, a pot of water in one hand and a stupa in his headdress, with the right hand  palm outwards, standing on a very low lotus pedestal. Here, Maitreya is wearing an incised dhoti that is  wrapped around his waist in the manner of a skirt, a style that will reappear in the Himalayas several centuries later.

The striking and uncommon cascade of locks on each side of his head is very similar to those of another sculpture from the ancient Tibetan kingdom of Himachal Pradesh, now in India, already published on this blog, and which the Ashmolean Museum situates in the 7th or 8th century.

Another uncommon feature is he halo, with only three flames, at the back of his head. Apart from that, the body shape and proportions are typical of the Gupta period (short torso, sturdy thighs, slight inclination of the waist, oversized hands).

 

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