We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Maitreya, Buddha of the future

3rd century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Stele with Bodhisattva seated in contemplation
    Seated pensive Bodhisattva
    Places where the work was made
    Ancient Gandhara Afghanistan
    Ancient Gandhara Pakistan
    Kushan period mid 1st century - early 5th century
    3rd century
    Media category
    Materials used
    79.0 x 39.0 x 18.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 1997
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Originating in the north-west regions of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, the art of Gandhara represents a unique meeting of East and West. From these sources there emerged a remarkable new art that flourished during the first four centuries of the current era. This figure of a Maitreya is distinguished by its quiet and contemplative attitude, the distinctive face with prominent moustache, the flowing drapery, the ornate pedestal, and the right foot casually raised leaving an empty sandal on the footstool. The right hand lightly touches the head in a pensive gesture, and the left holds a covered water bowl. It is an image that beautifully and richly embraces its cosmopolitan heritage and lays the foundations for the great traditions of East Asian Buddhist sculpture.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1999

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 9 publications

  • Provenance

    The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact provenance@ag.nsw.gov.au

    Julian Sadik-Sherrier, pre Sep 1996, London/England, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997.