- Museum number
- Object: Pedestal of a statue
Carved base with unexplained vestiges of feet and ankles. On the top two smooth foot-shaped forms of different dimensions are in low relief with vestiges of projections at the front which also differ between themselves. At the back are the remains of a thin backplate with the usual vertical ridge found between the legs of a standing image and the vestige of an unnaturally thin leg at one side. The appearance does not suggest unfinished work or shapes that have been chiselled or worn so much as melted down, and certainly not the remains of an emaciated Bodhisattva, which would be wholly exceptional as a standing figure.
On the face, on a rectangular seat, is Maitreya, no doubt in abhaya and with a water pot in his left hand. The chignon appears to be of the small double-loop variety and there are vestiges of earrings and perhaps a collar. The uttarīya can be made out on his left shoulder and upper arm. To his right a male corresponds to a female with hands joined opposite. Behind her a child and a turbaned half-length figure above join their hands.
The framing pilasters, continued onto the sides, have Corinthian capitals and the usual base mouldings under a sawtooth cornice; on both sides is a palmette, complete on one side and only a half on the other.
- Production date
Diameter: 13.70 centimetres
Height: 22 centimetres
Width: 23.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Zwalf 1996:
The Buddhist cult in Gandhāra involved figures of princely aspect who are taken to be Bodhisattvas, that is, Buddhas-to-be, among whom, however, the only one iconographically distinct to us is the commonly found Maitreya. Although he became prominent in the Mahāyāna with other great Bodhisattvas, Maitreya can be connected with an older scheme of successive Buddhas in which the latest is Śākyamuni, whose successor, Maitreya, in the interim reigns in the Tuṣita heaven. His messianic character has been seen as reinforced by Iranian influences to which Northwestern Buddhism may reasonably have been exposed. His usual attributes are the right hand in abhaya mudra and the pendent water-pot held by the neck in the other. The seated Maitreya may also be in dhyāna with the pot suspended by the neck held between fingers of the superimposed hands. He is also recognised making the preaching gesture, when the water-pot he thus cannot hold appears enshrined and under worship on his base. Maitreya is apparently never turbaned.
- Not on display
- 1.Grey schist, broken and exfoliated.
2.Smooth surface between feet at top; irregular bottom with cramp mortise to back.
3.Irregular break between and above legs.
4.Most of left front lost.
5.Back with horizontal chisel grooves and painted '11985'.
- Acquisition notes
- Given in 1876 by Mrs Mary Eustace Smith to the former India Museum. For the donor see the India Museum Slip book, nos 11751 -12000, in the offices of the present Indian and South-east Asian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum; the old inscribed British Museum stand also mentions the India Museum.
- Registration number