Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Maitreya (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - Bodhisattva

རྒྱལ་བ་བྱམས་པ། 弥勒佛
(item no. 664)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1400 - 1499
Lineages Gelug
Size 52.07x50.16cm (20.50x19.75in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1998.17.2
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.

Yellow in colour with one face and two hands, Maitreya is youthful and smiling performing with the right hand held upward the mudra (gesture) of blessing and explication of the Dharma and with the left in the mudra of generosity extended across the left knee while holding the stem of an utpala flower blossoming at the shoulder supporting a gold water flask. Adorned with gold and jewel ornaments, a crown, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and the like, he wears various flowing silk scarves and multi-coloured lower robes; seated in a western style on a square throne with the legs pendant above a moon disc and multi-coloured blossom rising from a lotus pond. The two feet are each supported by a lotus flower. Radiant light emanates to form an orange nimbus and dark green aureola.

At the upper left is the buddha Shakyamuni, orange in colour, performing the 'earth witness' mudra with the right hand and supporting a begging bowl in the lap with the left. At the right is the Buddha of Healing, Bhaishajaya-Guru, blue in colour, holding a medicinal plant in the right hand and a begging bowl in the left. Along both sides are 28 lamas wearing monastic robes and performing various mudras, some wear yellow pandita hats, each seated on a lotus blossom. At the bottom right is the Direction Guardian of the North, Vaishravana, yellow in colour holding a victory banner in the right hand and a mongoose in the left; riding a white lion. Seated on a cushion at the left is a figure wearing monastic robes and holding the hands at the heart in the mudra of reverence - possibly the patron of the painting.

"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).

Jeff Watt 9-98

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery III
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Main Page
Painting Style: Tibet (Balri)
Painting Style: Gyantse Scroll Paintings (Chi'u Gangpa)
Buddhist Deity: Maitreya (Seated Posture)