Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Maitreya Iconography

Maitreya Main Page

- Bodhisattva Appearance (Sutra)

- Buddha Appearance (Sutra)

- Meditational Deity (Tantra)

- Maitreya Bodhisattva
- Bodhisattva: Three Definitions

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

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...

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, 12-2020]

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