Maitreya, Buddha of the Future, 100s–200s. Gandhara, modern Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Gray schist; 20 3/4 x 8 x 5 in. Denver Art Museum: Anonymous gift, 1984.716
100s-200s, Kushan dynasty
Gandhara (present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan)
Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, is also a bodhisattva, a being on the path to enlightenment who defers complete buddhahood, in order to remain with and help all sentient beings achieve the same goal. Bodhisattva figures from Gandhara often appear clothed in a dhoti (wrapped loincloth) and shawl and have long wavy hair, mustaches, and jewelry. The water flask in his left hand identifies this figure as Maitreya. Originally, this figure would have been polychromed, or covered with color, which would have added definition to the carving.