Tibet, Maitreya – buddha of the future

Bodhisattva Maitreya is sometimes represented as a buddha because, according to the scriptures, he is the next historical buddha to be.

9th-10th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze,

9th-10th century, Tibet, Maitreya, bronze, at the Museum der Kulturen, Basel.

14th century, Tibet, copper alloy with silver inlaid eyes, private collection.

14th century, Tibet, copper alloy with silver inlaid eyes, private collection.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, copper alloy with traces of gilding and pigment, private collection.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, copper alloy with traces of gilding and pigment, private collection.

Unlike other buddhas, he often sits in the European way. Besides, he can be identified through his symbolical gesture known as dharmachakra mudra.

11th century circa, Western Tibet, Ngari district, copper alloy, cold gold, pigment

11th century circa, Western Tibet, Ngari district, copper alloy, cold gold, pigment, formerly at the gTsug Lakhang now in a private collection, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The stupa at the top of the arch behind him is one of his attributes. He is flanked by two attendants.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy and turquoise inlay, private collection.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy and turquoise inlay, private collection.

Another common attribute is the ritual water pot on the lotus next to his right arm.

13th-14th century, gilt copper alloy,

13th-14th century, gilt copper alloy, at the Brooklyn Museum (USA).

Even when he sits in the lotus position, his hand gesture and the pot of water on top of the lotus (next to his left arm, this time) enable us to identify him beyond doubt.

17th century circa, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper, private collection.

17th century circa, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper, private collection.

In  this case, we can identify him thanks to the stupa in his headdress, along with the hand gesture.

 

 

 

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