Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Maitreya (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Bodhisattva

རྒྱལ་བ་བྱམས་པ། 弥勒佛
(item no. 5)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Buddhist
Size 85.09x60.96cm (33.50x24in)
Material Fine Gold Line, Red Background on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.2.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Maitreya (Tibetan: cham pa. English: Love), the bodhisattva of loving kindness and the coming buddha of the future aeon - currently residing in the Tushita heaven.

Beautiful and peaceful, Maitreya is yellow in colour (gold painted) with one face and two hands performing the Dharma Teaching mudra (gesture) at the heart while holding the stems of two utpala flowers blossoming at both ears supporting on the right a water flask and on the left a Dharma Wheel. Adorned with gold and jewel ornaments, a crown, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and the like, he wears various flowing silk scarves and lower robes; seated in the vajra posture on a moon disc and lotus blossom surrounded by fine gold rays emanating to form a nimbus and areola of light.

Maitreya is seated above a multi-leveled throne, before a pavilion with three Chinese style roofs and a canopy, beneath the soothing nectar offered by groups of gathering heavenly gods. With an attendant bodhisattva standing at each side he is surrounded by numerous smaller pavilions each occupied by an emanation of himself in the performance of giving teachings to small groups of faithful listeners.

"With the fire of great love burning the fuel of anger, the light of pristine awareness removes the darkness of ignorance; heir to the Conqueror's Dharma, upcoming leader of beings; to the one residing in Tushita, I bow." (Sakya liturgical verse).

The painting style is called 'tsal thang'. On a red (vermilion) background the painting is executed with fine gold line and coloured pigments added for various detailing such as the face, mouth, eyes and hair.

Jeff Watt 9-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Religious Context
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Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 5
Painting Type: Red Ground Masterworks
Collection of RMA: Red & Gold Ground Masterworks
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya (Tushita Heaven)
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya (Painting Masterworks)