The present Maitreya figure also exhibits characteristics of Western Tibet, incorporating a broad, squared face, and the elongated torso evocative of figures from the Guge Kingdom. Compare the face and eyes with a figure from the Pritzker Collection, attributed to Western Tibet, 13th century, and published in Rob Linrothe, Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and its Legacies, New York, 2014, pl. 2.32. A close comparison reveals further similarities in the downcast flower buds embellishing the larger blossoms adjacent to the three figures.
The dharmacakra mudra presented with this figure derives from the first lecture given by Shakyamuni at Deer Park in Sarnath. The fingerpoints held together symbolize holding and turning the wheel of the dharma, and the fingers that remain extended symbolize the three jewels: Buddha, dharma, and sangha. As the origin of the mudra would indicate, it is the most important teaching mudra of Buddha, and is often employed by Maitreya.
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