Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Iconography

Maitreya Main Page

Iconography: Three Main Topics:
- Peaceful Appearance: non-iconic, narrative based, a student of the Buddha from Mahayana literature
- Buddha Appearance: Buddha of the Future, narrative based
- Meditational Deity: iconic, based on the Tantra (Vajrayana) literature

Three Key Subjects:
- Appearance (Buddha or Peaceful Deity)
- Posture (Seated or Standing)
- Attributes (Vase, stupa, wheel, mala, deerskin)

Forms & Types:
- Buddha Appearance
- Bodhisattva Appearance (standing)
- Bodhisattva Appearance (seated)
- (Seated Posture - Western style)
- (Relaxed Posture)
- Tushita Heaven
- Tushita Heaven (Tashi Lhunpo Model)
- Maitreya & Manjushri in Dialogue
- Eight Great Bodhisattva
- Maitreya as a Meditational Deity: Three Faces, Four Arms
- Others...

Iconography: Three Main Topics:
- Peaceful Appearance: non-iconic, narrative based, a student of the Buddha from Mahayana literature
- Buddha Appearance: Buddha of the Future, narrative based
- Meditational Deity: iconic, based on the Tantra (Vajrayana) literature

Maitreya Number Sets:
- Buddhas of the Three Times
- Eight Great Bodhisattvas
- One Thousand Buddhas of the Age
- Mandala Retinue Figure
- Others...

Iconographic Attributes:
- Stupa
- Water Flask
- Wheel
- Tree Branch
- Mala (bead garland)
- Deer Skin
- Legs Pendant

Appearance:
- Bodhisattva
—- seated relaxed posture
—- seated vajra posture
—- seated Western style
—- standing
- Buddha
—- seated vajra posture
—- seated Western style (sculpture)
—- standing

Maitreya is primarily depicted according to the descriptions found in The Mahayana Sutra literature. He does not play any significant role in the Tantra literature. A single meditation practice of Maitreya is listed in the Rinjung Lhantab of Jonang Taranata. That form of Maitreya as an ishtadevata has three faces and four arms.

Database Search: All Images | Painting | Sculpture | Bodhisattva Maitreya | Buddha Maitreya

Jeff Watt 4-2017 [updated 7-2018, 12-2019]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).