the Buddha of the future, whose name means gentleness, rests in sublime ease in
Tushita heaven, awaiting the time when the world will have fallen into deep forgetfulness
of the Dharma, when he will manifest and lead sentient beings to liberation. Already
he is guiding the propagation of the Buddhist faith from his heavenly abode.
representation shows Maitreya with right hand in the gesture granting fearlessness;
the left hand lowered in generosity. The carving is controlled and devoid of extraneous
forms. The robes descend in simple repeated draping curves with traces of red
and blue pigment remaining. The gilding has flaked off of much of the piece, leaving
a gleaming patchwork of antiquity. A gentle smile breaks through the surface to
transmit the benevolent spirit. The hands and the feet are substantially carved
and attentively detailed, both feet resting upon lotuses. Upright and immovable
in the faith, this stone statue seems to float above the earth.