Mongolia, standing Maitreya (2)

17th c., Mongolia, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with pigment, at Harvard Art Museums.

17th c., Mongolia, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with pigment, at Harvard Art Museums.

This sculpture has been attributed to Zanabazar himself, and, apart from the base which is totally different, it does bear great resemblance to a Zanabazar sculpture of Maitreya published in a previous post, although the body proportions are slightly different and the legs are somewhat stiffer. Maitreya holds a pot of water in is left hand and does the vitarka mudra with the other. There is an antelope skin over his left shoulder. This is also an attribute related to Avalokiteshvara, along with the pot of water, but Maitreya’s distinctive mark is the stupa in his headdress. His tall Indian Pala-style chignon is topped with a lotus bud finial. He wears a long transparent dhoti  held in place with a belt, a broad Nepalese-style sash knotted on one side, a long sacred cord that passes under the sash at thigh level.

17th century, Mongolia, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy, at the Zanabazar Museum (Mongolia).

17th century, Mongolia, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy, at the Zanabazar Museum (Mongolia).

Probably made by a Chinese artist, this sculpture differs completely from the previous one. He has smiling eyes and tiny U-shaped lips. His upper garment is tightly wrapped around the waist under the pectorals, and then covers the shoulders, his lower garment reaches to his feet. This type of single lotus base with fat squarish petals is often seen on Chinese-made or Chinese-style works of the 17th and 18th century from Tibet. Maitreya does the gesture of generosity with his right hand and the fear-allaying gesture with the other. His ushnisha is topped with a tall stupa which adds poise to the composition.

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