Future Buddha Maitreya

Future Buddha Maitreya
Place Made:
c. 1800
Opaque watercolor on cotton 
28 x 18-3/4 in. (71.1 x 47.6 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Pratap and Chitra Pal 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Museum 
Not 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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