Buddha Amitayus (of Infinite Life), is the deity associated with the rites that ensure long life. He is closely connected with Amitabha the Deity of Infinite Light, and is thought to preside over the Western Paradise (Sukavati). Amitayus is especially worshipped by the Tibetans who believe that by faith and compassion life can be extended through long lineages. It is believed that with the help of Amitayus one can achieve self-enlightment and welfare for others.
This fine gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus can be placed towards the
end of the seventeenth or early eighteenth century. It was during the reign of the Qing emperor Kangxi (1662-1722) that many sacred images were created for Chinese Lamaist temples.
These examples go in style partly back to earlier Ming types but at the same time display many elements common for later examples.
For instance the row of lotus petals surrounding still completely the base without leaving an empty space, as well his slightly puffy face suggest an earlier stylistic phase. On the other hand, the ends of the shawl floating symmetrically to both sides of his legs and waist, as well simple jewellery, crown and hair tresses falling stiffly on both shoulders are more common for eighteen century images. Thus based on this amalgamation of style elements it is suggested to place this figure around seventeen hundred.
A very similar bronze example, but depicting the goddess Ushnishavijaya, might come from the same workshop and is published by M. M. Rhie and R.A.F. Thurman in Wisdom and Compassion: The Sacred Art of Tibet, New York 1991, pl. 124. She displays the same type of lotus petals encompassing completely the base, floating shawl, stiffly rendered hair tresses, simple jewellery and an ornamented chignon, although the top of the finial is broken. See also another similar smaller example from 17th century in the Chang Foundation, illustrated in Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei 1993, pp.50-51, pl.18.