Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Maitreya (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Bodhisattva

རྒྱལ་བ་བྱམས་པ། 弥勒佛
(item no. 611)
Origin Location Central Tibet
Date Range 1500 - 1599
Lineages Gelug
Size 69.85x55.88cm (27.50x22in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1998.3.7
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Maitreya, Bodhisattva (Tibetan: cham pa, English: the One of Love), currently residing in the Tushita heaven, the next Buddha to appear in the world, surrounded by the Thirty-five Buddhas of the Sutra of Confession according to the Ludrub (Nagarjuna) iconographic system.

Peaceful in appearance, slightly yellow in colour, the two hands are placed at the heart performing the mudra (gesture) of Dharma Teaching while holding the stems of two red utpala flowers supporting a caitya (reliquary structure) on the right and a water flask on the left. Adorned with a gold and jewel crown, the black hair - some falling loose - piled on the top of the head is adorned with jewels. Further gold and jewel earrings, necklaces, bracelets, a waist belt, anklets and silks of every colour, across the shoulders and as a lower garment, adorn the body. He sits upright atop a red lotus seat and white snow lion supported throne with the legs extended in front resting on a lotus stand. A green areola with red trim frames the head and an elaborate backrest, rich fabrics and lush foliage surround the throne. Incense burners of gold and blue flower vases are arranged in front.

Directly above is Shakyamuni buddha performing the mudra of teaching, flanked by standing attendant monks. Along the top and sides are the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession as found in the sutra of the same name. They all have the essential characteristics of a buddha but vary as to colour, mudras and hand objects. Seated at the left, along side the throne is the Indian pandita Lord Atisha, wearing the orange garb of a monk and an orange pandita hat, performing the teaching mudra with the two hands at the heart, seated in vajra posture. At the right side is Lord Tsongkapa, wearing the same attire and a bright yellow pandita hat, performing the teaching mudra. (The names of the 35 Buddhas and the 2 lamas are written in gold lettering beneath or to the side of each).

At the bottom center is the worldly guardian and wealth deity Vaishravana, richly attired in the outfit of a warrior, holding a victory banner in the right hand and a mongoose in the left, astride a white snow lion. Accompanied by the four Guardian Kings, at the left are Dhritarashtra, for the east, holding a stringed instrument and Virudhaka, south, holding a sword. At the right are red Virupaksha, west, holding a caitya upraised in the right hand and green Vaishravana, north, holding a banner and mongoose. They all wear various layers of clothing and armour, surrounded by brown smoke and orange flames.

Numbered List (See the list of 35 names)
- Maitreya (center)
- Atisha
- Tsongkapa
1 through 35 Confession Buddhas
A. Vaishravana Riding a Lion
B. Dhritarashtra
C. Virudhaka
D. Virupaksha
E. Vaishravana

Jeff Watt 3-99

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Subject: Confession Buddhas (Nagarjuna System)
Subject: Thirty-five Confession Buddhas Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 3
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Main Page
Subject: Thirty-five Confession Buddhas Iconography
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya (Seated Posture)
Subject: Confession Buddhas, 忏悔佛, ལྟུང་བཤགས་སངས་རྒྱས་སོ་ལྔ་། (Masterworks)