Gold Statue of Maitreya with Pearl Inlays

The Palace Museum

The Palace Museum

This statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha in Buddhist eschatology) wears a crown, which is topped with an ornate pagoda. His ears are adorned with earrings. His full face is round, and a ruby reflects radiance from between his peaceful eyes.
Both his arms are garnished with splendid bands. His left hand is placed at his side, while his right hand is raised in a traditional Buddhist gesture called a mudra. This particular mudra appears to be the vitarka mudra, a gesture of discussion and transmission of Buddhist teaching; in this position, the tips of the index finger and the thumb are held together while the palm is faced outward.
His feet are decorated with bejeweled hoops. The figure stands upon a round lotus-petal base. Intertwining lotus branches flank the Buddha on either side. The Wheel of Dharma (falun, lit. "law wheel") is prominently displayed atop one of the large flowers. The opposite flower features a treasure bottle (baoping).
This figure of Maitreya is rendered in a Tibetan Buddhist style. Elegant and crafted with superb skills, the work is the quintessence of Buddhist statues made during the Qing dynasty. The statue's shimmering gold is inlaid with 183 pearls of various sizes and presents the splendor of Qing artistic achievement.

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  • Title: Gold Statue of Maitreya with Pearl Inlays
  • Physical Dimensions: overall height: 54 cm, weight: 19,030 g
  • Provenance: Qing imperial collection
  • Type: metalwork
  • Medium: gold


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