Lot 1408: Gandharan Seated Maitreya
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 2nd-4th century AD. A carved steatite figure of Maitreya seated cross-legged on a lotus flower base, hands in the teaching mudra, with knotted headdress; mounted on a custom-made stand. 4.2 kg, 36cm including stand (14"). UK art market, acquired prior to 2000. Maitreya is considered to be the future Buddha who will appear on earth to restore the teachings of the Buddha. His name means 'loving kindness' or 'friend', and is possibly derived from the Persian Mitra, an Indo-Persian deity who was extremely popular in the Roman Empire. In the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, in the first centuries AD in northern India, Maitreya was the most popular figure to be represented along with Gautama Buddha. Maitreya is typically pictured seated in the so-called 'European style', with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time when he can appear on Earth. He is dressed in the clothes of either a bhik?u, a monk, or Indian royalty. He is said to reside in the Tushita heaven where he can be reached through meditation. In this example his hands are in the dharmacakrapravartana, or teaching mudra. This is unusual for images of this Bodhisattva as it is normally seen in images of the Buddha after his enlightenment.
Condition Report: Fine condition, repair to feet.