Nepalese / Ketumati Maitreya / Transitional period, 11th-12th centuryNepalese
Ketumati Maitreya
Transitional period, 11th-12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Nepalese
Creator Name-CRT: Nepalese
Title: Ketumati Maitreya
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1000
Creation End Date: 1199
Creation Date: Transitional period, 11th-12th century
Creation Place: Nepal
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Copper alloy with copper overlay, traces of gilding, and trace of blue pigment
Dimensions: H. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1983.001
Credit Line: Asia Society: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
Context: Historically, Nepal consisted of a much smaller region than the modern nation, which was formed during the 18th century, encompasses today. It included only the section known as the Kathmandu Valley and a few outlying areas. Nepali art was created by artists of Newari descent working within this limited geographic area; this was responsible for a certain conservatism and consistency in Nepali sculpture. Yet, because of Nepal's critical location--linking north and east India with other nations of the Himalayas such as Tibet--there are also mutual influences between Nepali art and that of other styles found throughout the Himalayan region.

The slightly elongated proportions and exaggerated treatment of the edges and hems of the robe date this seated Buddha to the 11th or 12th century. The combination of monastic robes, pendant legs, and the gesture of preaching (dharmachakramudra) indicates that this sculpture represents Maitreya in his role of earthly Buddha of the next age. Maitreya's position in the Buddhist pantheon is unique because he is worshipped both as a bodhisattva in this age and as the Buddha of the next. As a bodhisattva, he presides over the Tushita Pure Land; as a Buddha he rules over the Ketumati Pure Land, an earthly paradise sometimes associated with the Indian city of Banaras in Uttar Pradesh.

The cult of Maitreya is somewhat messianic, for it is believed that his rebirth as the Buddha will herald a utopian age in which the circumstances of a devotee's daily life will be more conducive to achieving enlightenment. As a result, devotees sometimes pray for rebirth in the Tushita Pure Land to await rebirth in Ketumati.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. 'Art of Asia Acquired by North American Museums, 1983.' Archives of Asian Art 38 (1984), p. 122.
Related Document Description: Chutiwongs, Nandana, and Denise Patry Leidy. Buddha of the Future: An Early Maitreya from Thailand. New York: Asia Society Galleries, distributed by University of Washington Press, 1994, p. 88.
Related Document Description: Sixth International Exhibition Presented by CINOA. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1974, p. 300.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 180, 181.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 51, 124.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1983.001
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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