The front side of this stele is carved with a principal image of Shakyamuni Buddha seated in a niche, while the reverse features a principal image of the Future Buddha, Maitreya, sitting cross-legged. The Shakyamuni Buddha sits beneath a flame-ornamented canopy and is flanked by a pair of Bodhisattvas: those most human of beings in the vast pantheon of Buddhist deities who, having achieved Buddhahood, elect to remain on earth out of compassion. The figure of Maitreya sits beneath an ornately decorated canopy and is also flanked by a pair of small Bodhisattva images. Above both the principal images the stele is carved with miniature Buddhas. A dedicatory inscription on the upper right bears the now partially damaged reign date, which reads: 'chang yuan nian...'. The absence of the first character precludes a precise date, but indicates either 512, 525 or 532. Further inscriptions on all sides of the stele give the names of donors who contributed to its construction as an act of Buddhist devotion.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg.249.
Rectangular votive steel carved on all four sides with the figures of Buddha, Maitreya, Bodhisattvas, spirit kings and donors
Place where the work was made
143.8 x 53.3 x 19.5 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with assistance from the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales and the Edward and Goldie Sternberg Chinese Art Purchase Fund 1995
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Buddha: Radiant awakening, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Nov 2001–24 Feb 2002
The connoisseur and the philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection of Chinese Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014–27 Apr 2014
Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–13 Mar 2016