Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A DATED GILT-BRONZE BUDDHIST VOTIVE STELE WITH MAITREYA
A DATED GILT-BRONZE BUDDHIST VOTIVE STELE WITH MAITREYA

NORTHERN QI DYNASTY (AD 550-577), DATED BY INSCRIPTION TO AD 557

Details
A DATED GILT-BRONZE BUDDHIST VOTIVE STELE WITH MAITREYA
NORTHERN QI DYNASTY (AD 550-577), DATED BY INSCRIPTION TO AD 557
The group has a central figure of the bodhisattva Maitreya seated with the pendent legs crossed in front of a petal-shaped nimbus bordered with flames, with right hand raised in abhaya mudra and the left in varada mudra and flanked by further bodhisattvas standing on lotus plants.
6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm.) high, wood stand, Japanese wood box
Provenance
In Japan prior to 1996.

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Considered the successor to the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Maitreya is regarded as the Buddha of the Future and presides in the Tushita Heaven until his wisdom is required on earth. By Chinese calculation of the day, the influence of Shakyamuni’s teachings would end in the year AD 552 – roughly 1,000 years after the death of the historical Buddha – ushering in the mofa, or period of the decline of Buddhist law. Such millennial speculation gave rise to the belief that decline and corruption were imminent and that the appearance of Maitreya as the Buddha of the Future could not be far away, which led to a surge in Maitreya’s popularity in the 6th century and the resultant increase in the number of Maitreya images created for worship.

In sculpture from this period, Maitreya is usually identified by the so-called ‘Western’ pose, with both feet pendent, and sometimes, as in the present case, with ankles crossed. Compare the present altar with a related example, dated Late Eastern Wei to Northern Qi dynasty, in the collection of the Sano Art Museum, Japan, illustrated in Zhongguo liu shi hai wai fo jiao zao xiang zong he tu mu (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Buddhist Statues in Overseas Collections), vol. 2, Beijing, 2005, no. 373.

More from Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

View All
View All