Nepal, a vanguardist Maitreya

9th-10th century, Nepal, buddha of the future Maitreya, gilt copper alloy and pigment, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

9th-10th century, Nepal, Thakuri period, buddha of the future Maitreya, gilt copper alloy and pigment, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

The exaggerated slant of the body and the long piece of cloth acting as a hip skirt, richly decorated with incised lotus flowers, are a departure from the sober Licchavi style (5th-9th century) and an announcement of things to come during the Malla period, several centuries later. Maitreya is represented in his bodhisattva appearance, clad with jewellery and wearing a foliate crown, his diaphanous dhoti  held in place with a belt,  a sash across his hips. A long sacred thread goes along his left side and under the sash. He is holding a pot of water in his left hand and may have been holding another attribute in his right hand, such as a rosary or a branch. His very thin waist and underdeveloped chest are typical of Nepalese works.

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