Pakistan, 7th c. Maitreya

7th c., Pakistan, buddha of the future Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with silver inlay, at the National Gallery of Canada

7th century, Pakistan, buddha of the future Maitreya, copper alloy with silver inlay, at the National Gallery of Canada.

This remarkably well kept sculpture represents Maitreya, with a pot of water in his left hand and a stupa on top of his head, sitting on a lotus base that differs from the standard Swat Valley double-lotus base (especially as far as the  intricate metal work between the cushion and the lotus flower is concerned). He wears simple jewellery and ankle-length dhoti knotted at the waist, the end gathered in thick folds under his feet in a half scallop shape. His navel is a hole punched in the abdomen. He has a broad face with a big mouth, a long nose and large silver-inlaid eyes. Although the body proportions and the posture resemble Kashmiri works, most of the other elements are different.

7th century, Pakistan, probably Swat Valley, Maitreya, bronze with silver inlay, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA)

The use of a very dark copper alloy was far more common in the region. The above sits on a simple lotus base with two rows of petals, broader and flatter than most. He holds a pot of water in his left hand and does the vitarka mudra but inside out (palm towards him).

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