Kashmir, Karkota dynasty, Maitreya

7th-8th century, Kashmir, Karkotay dynasty, buddha of the future Maitreya, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder

7th-8th century, Kashmir, Karkotay dynasty, buddha of the future Maitreya, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang, Lhasa,  published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This early Kashmiri sculpture shows Maitreya sitting in the European position on a lion  throne, each foot on a lotus flower, flanked by his attendants, in a manner that resembles Gilgit works made at the same time or earlier.  The lotus flower above his head and what may be lotus petals on the inner side of the halo are not normally represented on Kashmiri mandorlas. The silver inlaid eyes, the pointed facial features, the folds of the garment over his shoulder and the hem of his dhoti are unmistakenly Kashmiri, as is the shape of the flaming mandorla  made of two pieces, one that goes behind his body and one that goes behind his head. Here it is topped with a stupa,  one of Maitreya’s attributes. This statue was made to suit the Tibetan taste, hence the turquoise inlaid urna. The gold paint on the face may have been added by the Tibetans themselves.

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