The Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara

Thakuri periods
11th–12th century
Nepal, Kathmandu Valley
Copper alloy with gilding and semiprecious stones
H. 23 in. (58.4 cm); W. 10 1/2 in. (25.7 cm); D. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequests of Mary Clarke Thompson, Fanny Shapiro, Susan Dwight Bliss, Isaac D. Fletcher, William Gedney Beatty, John L. Cadwalader and Kate Read Blacque, Gifts of Mrs. Samuel T. Peters, Ida H. Ogilvie, Samuel T. Peters and H. R. Bishop, F. C. Bishop and O. M. Bishop, Rogers, Seymour and Fletcher Funds, and other gifts, funds and bequests from various donors, by exchange, 1982
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 252
Maitreya, the messianic bodhisattva characterized as the Buddha of the Future, stands in a graciously exaggerated posture, the body beautifully counterbalanced. He holds his raised hand in the gesture of exposition (vitarka mudra) and in his lowered hand displays a flask (kamandalu) universally understood in South Asian culture as the container of amrta, the elixir of life. In a Buddhist setting, the flask is understood as the promise of Maitreya’s coming. The elegant aesthetics of this sculpture embody contemporary eastern Indian Pala styles, yet it displays a startling elegance combined with an almost austere economy of surface decoration: jewelry is restrained, textile patterns minimally suggested. The scale is exceptional, as is the aesthetic sensibility of the artist responsible for this work.
[ Doris Wiener Gallery , New York, by 1969 until 1972, sold to Heeramaneck]; [ Alice N. Heeramaneck , New York, by 1972 until 1973, sold to Humann]; Christian Humann , New York , New York (1973 until d. 1981, estate sale by Ellsworth to MMA); [ R. H. Ellsworth Ltd. , New York, 1982, sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.