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Sculpture from the Kushan Period
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Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
Sculpture from the Kushan Period
Two Bodhisattvas from Sri Lanka
Ketumati Maitreya
Nepal; Transitional period (880-1200), 11th - 12th century
Copper alloy with copper overlay, traces of gilding, and trace of blue pigment
H. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
Maitreya's position in the Buddhist pantheon in unique. He is worshipped both as a bodhisattva in this age and as the Buddha of the next. The combination of monastic robes, pendant legs, and teaching gesture suggests that this sculpture represents Maitreya in his role as earthly Buddha of the next age. The Ketumati Pure Land is the earthly paradise that will be presided over by Maitreya at the time of his descent as a Buddha. According to texts, the world will be in a blissful and peaceful state when Maitreya finally appears as the presiding Buddha: there will be no thieves or robbers, no famine because rain will come in due season and crops will be plentiful, and no disease or danger of fire. A circular loop protruding from the image's back indicates that it was once surrounded by a bodyhalo.
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