Buddha Maitreya (Mile) altarpiece


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207

Maitreya is the only divinity in Buddhism revered as both a bodhisattva and a Buddha. Slated as the next being to achieve enlightenment, he exists on the verge of Buddhahood, his bodhisattva’s vows completed and the promise of enlightenment assured. Devotion to Maitreya was widespread in China in the late fifth and sixth centuries. This complex assembly shows Maitreya emerging from a halo of flames as he descends to earth to rescue the devout.

Buddha Maitreya (Mile) altarpiece, Gilt bronze, China

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