CATALOGUE No. 34 BRONZE FIGURE OF BODHISATTVA MAITREYA


CATALOGUE No. 34 BRONZE FIGURE OF BODHISATTVA MAITREYA

NORTHEAST THAILAND, BURIRAM PROVINCE

PRA KON CHAI STYLE

7TH – 8TH CENTURY

H. 22 CMS, 8 ½ INS

An exceptionally rare standing bronze figure of the Bodhisattva Maitreya (the Future Buddha), his right hand raised in vitarka (teaching) mudra, holding a flask in his left hand, wearing a short dhoti elaborately knotted at the waist, his hair piled into a high jatamukata arrangement containing a small stupa at the front.

The Pra Kon Chai hoard, found in 1964 in Buriram Province, north east Thailand, is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever to have been made in the field of Southeast Asian art. This area of Thailand was under strong Khmer influence, and this group of bronzes falls into the pre-Angkor stylistic tradition.

For a related example in the Norton Simon Museum, see cat. no. 98 in P. Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 3: Art from Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004.

For a more detailed examination of these bronzes, see Emma Bunker, Pre-Angkor Period Bronzes from Pra Kon Chai. Archives of Asian Art 25 (1971-72), pp 67-76. For a discussion of depictions of Bodhisattva Maitreya at Pra Kon Chai, see pp 65 – 91 in Nandana Chutiwongs and Denise Patry Leidy, Buddha of the future: an early Maitreya from Thailand, New York: The Asia Society Galleries, 1994.

Provenance: Swiss private collection.

Purchased from Spink and Son Ltd, 7th September 1989.