The Buddha Amitayus Attended by Bodhisattvas

Date: 11th or early 12th century

Culture: Tibet

Medium: Distemper on cloth

Dimensions: Overall: 54 1/2 x 41 3/4 in. (138.4 x 106.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1989

Accession Number: 1989.284


The cult of Amitayus, the Buddha of Eternal Life, was popular in Tibet, where his followers believed that devotion to this Buddha would prolong life. Amitayus is shown holding a jar containing the elixir of immortality, amrita, in his lap. He is richly bejeweled and has a golden complexion, creating radiance appropriate to his transcendent nature. He mediates in a heavenly assembly of bodhisattvas, flanked by two standing bodhisattvas typical of medieval eastern Indian art and an array of seated bodhisattvas who receive his doctrine. The seven figures in the uppermost register are monastic robed hierarchs. In the lower register is a couple, presumably donors of the painting, and a monk, likely their spiritual mentor.