Tibet, seated Maitreya (7)

15th-16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, brass, at the Walters Museum of Art (USA).

late 15th-early 16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, brass, at the Walters  Art Museum (USA).

This Tibetan masterpiece, probably made in the Tsang province, depicts Maitreya seated on a double-lotus base in the vajra position, in bodhisattva attire, framed by long-stemmed lotuses that support a ritual water pot (kundika) to his left and a nagakesara (cobra saffron) flower to his right. He has a broad squarish face with semi-closed eyes inlaid with silver, his lips are inlaid with copper typical of Central Tibet. He wears an unusual cross belt with a square clasp.

16th century, same as before, private collection.

16th century, same as before, private collection.

On this similar type of work, the celestial scarf is decorated with a stippled pattern and his lower garment is incised with scrolls. His eyes are inlaid with silver and the lips with copper. The lotus to his left supports a stupa.

16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

16th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy inlaid with stones, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Another attribute associated with Maitreya is the wheel of dharma as above and below, on the lotus to his right.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper with stone inlay, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper with stone inlay, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

His bodhisattva attire and the attributes on the lotuses tell us that this is Maitreya (rather than the historical buddha), seated on a throne suppored by lions, both feet resting on a large lotus flower attached to the base. His face is painted with cold gold and pigments, his hair with lapis lazuli powder.

17th century circa, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schröeder.

17th century circa, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper, is or was at the Jokhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Seated on a simpler throne covered with a cloth, depicted as a crowned buddha, his hands doing the dharmacakra mudra, Maitreya has both feet resting on two lotus flowers attached to the base.

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