Kashmir, 8th c. Maitreya

8th century, Kashmir, buddha of the future Maitreya, brass with silver and copper inlay, private collection

8th century, Kashmir, buddha of the future Maitreya, brass with silver and copper inlay, private collection.

This is a highly individual representation of Maitreya, identified through the pot of water in his left hand together with the stupa in his headdress. Unlike most sitting statues of this type, his legs are not in the lotus position, i.e. the feet are not resting over the legs with the soles outwards. On the contrary, his well delineated toes are showing ‘Egyptian feet’ (with the second toe longer than the big toe). The ‘hourglass’  shaped double lotus base with very pointed and incised narrow petals is proper to the 8th and 9th century. He is wearing a garland that rests over his shoulder then tapers slightly and forms a U shape from the waist down. This feature is seen on some sculptures from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Western Tibet and the former Tibetan kingdom of Ladakh. He wears a transparent dhoti at calf length, held in place by a belt and a string around his waist. His large crown, held in place with long zigzag-shaped ribbons and adorned with bows contrasts with the simplicity of his jewellery. As usual on Kashmiri works, his eyes are inlaid with silver and his lips with copper, he has a  diamond shape navel and a realistic torso and body proportions.

 

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