practice of building mandalas took on great importance to the Buddhism practiced
in kingdom of Shrivijaya (7th-12th century). Much of the Buddhist art from Java
excavated over the last sixty years consists of small bronzes rarely exceed four
or five inches in height. The size of these figures and their iconography suggest
that they were placed in the outer rings of three-dimensional mandalas, where
they functioned as attendants and guardians for the more important deities at
the center. The bronze Maitreya shown here is spectacular in its size of almost
ten inches, and probably occupied the near-center position in the mandala.
importance and rarity of this striking Maitreya are confirmed by the fact that
it was completely gilded; traces of gold are found even inside the casting where
it would never be seen. This is a superb work made with scrupulous attention to
detail, notably the elaborate jewelry adorning the bodhisattva's elongated body
and the large headdress with its stupa emblem rising in plaited rows and ornamented
with plant forms. Identical foliate shapes are seen on the armbands, necklace
and girdle, and rising from water on the stupa-base. Perhaps most remarkable is
the artistry realized in the dharmachakra mudra, where each finger is finely characterized
and most exquisitely sculpted.
Time has graced this work with
a rich patina that collects in washes of seafoam green malachite. A veil of gold
remains sparkling on this statue of the Future Buddha, and it continues to convey
a profound presence.
Sold To Private Collection