12th-13th century, Tibet or Western Himalayas, Maitreya, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo on Christie’s .
Unique in its kind, this early sculpture of bodhisattva Maitreya (identified by the large stupa at the front of his crown) depicts him seated with his right leg pendent, atop a lotus seat now lost, his serene and harmonious Tibetan facial features enhanced by large floral earrings and flowing ribbons, his urna, sacred thread, and necklace inlaid with silver in the Pala Indian fashion.
He wears a Nepalese-style sash drawn tightly across his chest, a long dhoti, both decorated with a stippled and incised pattern – a practice associated with Western Tibet – and a scarf or sash passing over his left arm. There is an non-identified object in his right hand, and he may have had an other attribute in the left one.
14th century, Tibet, Maitreya, (copper alloy with coral inlay), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .
Maitreya seated with his legs locked, his hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘, flanked by blue lotuses, one of them supporting a ritual water pot (kundika). His Pala-style chignon is barely visible behind the tall five-leaf crown with rosettes and ribbons so typical of a group of 13th and 14th century Tibetan non-gilt brass works that feature elegant figures with a bodhisattva appearance.
14th-15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s .
When seated, Maitreya may make the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand while the left one is in the meditation gesture or holds a champaka flower or branch.
14th-15th c., Tibet, Maitreya, gilt copper alloy with stone inlay, private collection, photo on Sotheby’s as before, lot 325.
The ritual water pot is sometimes placed to his right.
15th century, Tibet, Tsang province atelier, Maitreya, silver (on a separate copper alloy base and with gilt and turquoise-inlaid parts), private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .
This rare silver one has a stupa finial on his chignon.
16th century, Tibet, Sonam Gyaltsen & atelier, Maitreya, gilt metal, private collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .
Maitreya seated with both legs pendent, his feet placed on a large lotus atop the platform that supports his throne. When in this posture, he often has an elongated trunk, and particularly so in this case. His face is painted with cold gold and pigments.
17th-18th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt bronze, private collection, photo on Christie’s .
15th century, Tibet, Maitreya, gilt metal with stone inlay, private collection, photo on HAR.
Maitreya standing, his right hand in the gesture of debate (tip of the forefinger on the tip of the thumb), his left hand held down palm out in the gesture of supreme generosity. The lotus to his left supports a kundika.