Buddha Maitreya (Mile) Altarpiece


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207

This complex assembly depicts the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya, who descends to earth to enlighten and save devout believers. He stands in front of an openwork back panel encircled by flames and flying celestial musicians, gesturing to reassure worshipers and promising to grant their wishes. Two attendant bodhisattvas stand at his side, with another pair at his feet. Next to them are four patrons—two on each side—dressed in secular clothes and holding bowls of offerings. Thunderbolt bearers are placed as guardians at opposite front corners of the altarpiece. Below the main platform are two seated lions—protectors of the dharma, or the universal truth of Buddhism. An incised text on the base records the name of the person and date upon which he commissioned this sculpture to invoke the Buddha’s blessing for his deceased son and relatives.

#7458. Altarpiece Dedicated to Buddha Maitreya (Mile fo), Part 1



  1. 7458. Altarpiece Dedicated to Buddha Maitreya (Mile fo), Part 1
  2. 7459. Altarpiece Dedicated to Buddha Maitreya (Mile fo), Part 2
Buddha Maitreya (Mile) Altarpiece, Gilt bronze, China

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Two small monks (behind incense burner) from 38.158.2 (f, g)