Kashmir, Maitreya

9th-10th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, brass with silver and copper inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier (Switzerland).

9th-10th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, brass with silver and copper inlay, at the Fondation Alain Bordier (Switzerland).

Maitreya is depicted in his buddha appearance (no crown or jewellery), his hands held in the dharmacakra mudra, seated with both legs pendant, on a throne supported by two lions, complete with flaming halo.

Undated (9th century circa), Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy, private collection.

Undated (9th century circa), Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection.

The position of the legs helps distinguishing him from the historical buddha, who may also display this hand gesture.

10th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

10th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Maitreya, in his bodhisattva appearance, stands on a lotus over a plinth, holding a pot of water in his left hand, the other (now broken) doing the abhaya mudra.

10th c., Kashmir, Maitreya, bronze, head

He has fine Kashmiri facial features with silver-inlaid eyes, part of his hair gathered in a fan shape, the rest loosely plaited on each side of the head. There is a stupa in his headdress. He wears beaded jewellery, a long foliate garland, some large earrings, a sacred thread and a celestial scarf – of which only a small piece remains attached to the flaming halo.

Early 11th century, Kashmir or Western Tibet, Maitreya, brass, private collection, photo by Christie's.

Early 11th century, Kashmir or Western Tibet, Maitreya, brass with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This more complete masterpiece depicts him with a taller stupa on his head, a rosary in his right hand (and a pot of water in the other), a celestial scarf over his arms.

11th c. early, Kashmir or WT, Maitreya, brass, 31,7 cm, mala+water pot, scarf, stupa in chignon, close up

 His full face, with wide-open eyes, larger lips and nose, corresponds more to the Tibetan standards. This item and the previous one were part of the collection of a West Tibetan prince, known as Nagaraja, from the ancient kingdom of Guge.

11th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy, published by Dr Ajay Kumar Singh.

11th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy with silver-inlaid eyes, published by Dr Ajay Kumar Singh.

Many Kashmiri sculptures include secondary figures, such as devotees, donors, dancers, attached to the pedestal.

12th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art, photo by Rob Linrothe.

12th century, Kashmir, Maitreya, copper alloy, at the Rubin Museum of Art, photo by Rob Linrothe.

This masterpiece depicts Maitreya with semi-closed eyes, seated on a throne supported by lions, his feet resting on lotuses, his hands in the dharmacakra mudra, the edges of his robe forming a zigzag shape. The back of the seat is decorated with embossed flowers and forms an arch behind the head topped with a parasol and ribbons, a crescent moon, some lotus buds. The hair under his chignon is combed into V-shaped rows of curls.

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