When depicted in his buddha appearance, Maitreya usually does the dharmacakra mudra (turning the wheel of dharma) with his hands. The above sculpture shows him seated on a throne with both feet on the double-lotus pedestal, wrapped in monastic garments with one shoulder bare.
The face is painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair with lapis lazuli powder.
The throne is inlaid with turquoise and coral, his garments are incised and decorated with silver and brass inlay and overlay.
Here, his feet rest on a large lotus flower. His outer garment covers both shoulders.
Alternatively, he sits with his legs in the vajra position. His elongated body added to the gilding and the draping of his lower garment situate this work towards the 17th century. He has lotuses incised in the palm of his hands and on the soles of his feet, which distinguish him from the historical buddha (who has dharma wheels). He wears a torque with Kirtimukkha and female nagas (naginis), another touch of ‘modernity’ compared to more traditional images. His three-tier hair arrangement (hair tied back, smooth round chignon and round finial or knop) is not unusual on Tibetan and Mongolian sculptures of the same period.