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Stone Maitreya

Antique Chinese Gilt Polychrome Stele
MAITREYA
With Lotus and Flame Stele

Southern Song Dynasty, circa: 1127-1279 AD
H. 32 in. (81cm) X W. 10 in.(25cm) X D. 8 in.(20cm)
Condition: good, crack line on stele

Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, rests in Tushita heaven until the time arrives for him to manifest on earth to lead suffering sentient beings out of the confusion of a degenerate time, presumed to be five thousand years after the appearance of the Gautama Buddha.

This Maitreya, carved from the most adamantine of materials, radiates an atmosphere of softness and warmth in the pinks and greys of its polychromed surface. The future Buddha stands on a double lotus throne, a lotus aureole behind his head set into the flaming mandorla that surrounds him. He is attired in fine robes and ornaments, with his head, hands and feet retaining much of their gold. His face bears an _expression of quiescent tenderness, and is typical of sculpture of the Song period, which continued to embody the full forms and lyrical movement of the Tang dynasty. All Buddhas represent the one eternal pure consciousness existing at all times, in all places and throughout every dimension, yet our conditioned mind can only grasp this ubiquity in the form of a pantheon of personages, therefore Maitreya Buddha waits serenely in the future.

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