An image of Maitreya

Unknown Artist


Other titles:
Stele with Bodhisattva seated in contemplation, Seated pensive Bodhisattva
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Originating in the north-west regions of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, the art of Gandhara represents a unique meeting of East and West. From these sources there emerged a remarkable new art that flourished during the first four centuries of the Christian era. This figure of a Maitreya is distinguished by its quiet and contemplative attitude, the distinctive face with prominent moustache, the flowing drapery, the ornate pedestal, and the right foot casually raised leaving an empty sandal on the footstool. The right hand lightly touches the head in a pensive gesture, and the left holds a covered casket or alms bowl. It is an image that beautifully and richly embraces its cosmopolitan heritage and lays the foundations for the great traditions of East Asian Buddhist sculpture.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1999

Place of origin
Swat Valley, Ancient Gandhara, Pakistan
India: Kushan period mid 1st century–early 5th century
3rd century
grey schist
79.0 x 39.0 x 18.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1997
Accession number
Art Set
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