Gilt-bronze Maitreya in Meditation (National Treasure No. 78)

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Gilt-bronze Maitreya in Meditation
Pensive Bodhisattva (National Treasure No. 78) 01.jpg
Korean name
Hangul 금동 미륵보살 반가상
Hanja 金銅彌勒菩薩半跏像
Revised Romanization Geumdong Mireuk Bosal ban-gasang
McCune–Reischauer Kŭmdong Mirŭk Posal pan'gasang

The Gilt-bronze Maitreya in Meditation is a gilt-bronze statue of Maitreya seated in meditation and is one of the best known and most highly regarded Korean Buddhist sculptures. It was designated as the 78th national treasure of Korea on December 12, 1962.

The statue is 83.2 centimeters in height. It was cast from bronze and gilded, probably in the middle or late 6th century. The bronze is less than one centimeter in thickness which attests to the skills of bronze-workers during this time period.[1]

In 1912 a Japanese person acquired it, and donated it to the General Governing Department of Japan over Joseon. It is currently housed at the National Museum of Korea.

The maitreya is semi-seated on a stool with its right leg crossed over the left in deep meditation. The face of the statue, has a hint of a smile, and exhibits a sense of serene concentration. The right arm of the statue, at the elbow, rests on its lap while its delicate hand reaches towards its cheek giving the impression of deep thought. One shoulder of the maitreya is slightly higher than the other and the upper body is slightly bent forward which also creates the impresses on the viewer an aura of deep thought. The statue wears a crown which is rather elaborate with many prongs and parts of the crown rest on the shoulders of the maitreya. The statue is also dressed in a complicated scarf-like vestment that curves around the body with wing-like projections. The left foot rests on a base which is shaped like a lotus flower. The statue is probably of Silla provenance because of the style is more formalized than realistic.

At one point, the statue had a halo, but only traces of it remain.

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