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Future Buddha Maitreya, c. 1800

Tibet, 1775-1825
Opaque watercolor on cotton
28 x 18-3/4 in. (71.1 x 47.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Pratap and Chitra Pal
P.1999.09.1
© 2012 Norton Simon Museum

On view

According to Buddhist texts, Maitreya will descend to earth when the dharma (Buddha’s teaching) is forgotten. As is typical of Maitreya imagery, he is depicted in this thangka (rolled painting) as seated on his throne in the Tushita heaven, where he will remain until his final rebirth on earth. The miniature stupa in his cranial protuberance holds the relics of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha of our age. The khata (ceremonial scarf) tied around his waist is characteristic of Maitreya imagery from Tibet and Mongolia.


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