Tibet, seated Maitreya (1)

13th-14th century, Tibet, Maitreya, brass with cold gold and pigment, photo by Christie's.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Maitreya, brass with cold gold and pigment, photo by Christie’s.

When depicted as a seated bodhisattva, Maitreya may have his legs folded in the lotus position as above. We see him here with a stupa in his headdress and a water pot coming out of the lotus on his left. His right hand is doing the teaching gesture.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, copper alloy with copper and turquoise inlay, photo by Koller.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, copper alloy, photo by Koller.

Both hands may be at heart level in the ‘turning the wheel of the law’ gesture known as dharmacakra or dharmachakra mudra.

Same as above.

Same as above.

He may also have one leg pendant, the foot resting on a lotus bud attached to the base. Again, we can see the water pot in the lotus to his left, which is enough to distinguish him from other bodhisattvas.

15th century, Central Tibet, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection.

15th century, Central Tibet, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection.

Unlike any other bodhisattva or buddha, he sometimes sits in the European fashion, on a throne.

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