Date: ca. late 17th century
Medium: Bronze with traces of gilt; eyes inlaid with shell and garnet
Dimensions: H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm); W. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm); D. 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Gifts of friends of Jim Thompson, in his memory, 2001
Accession Number: 2001.27
This is a much favored depiction of a famed Buddhist disciple, rotund and shaven, renowned for his gifts in teaching the dharma. He was introduced into later Southeast Asian Buddhism from China, where he is known as Budai. He has various hagiographies, but is widely understood as an incarnation of Maitreya, the Future Buddha. Popularly he is associated with contentment and prosperity.