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Bronze Statue of Maitreya Buddha with “The Third Year of Yongping Period”
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.12.06 09:17:33

Period: The Third Year of Yongping Period (correspond to 510 CE)
Measurements: H. 31.4 cm W.1115g
Provenance: Previous collection

The halo-formed panel and the Buddha were separately cast, followed by joining together with rivets.

The Buddha features high spiral topknot, large ears, lean face, seated with crossed legs on Sumeru seat, with one raised hand in the posture of Varada mudra, the other in Abhaya mudra. Beneath the Sumeru seat is a square pedestal with four legs, halo-shaped back panel carved with lotus petals has three Buddhas who are listening to Dharma. The pedestal was carved with an inscription, suggesting the time, devotee, and wishes of making the statue.

In Buddhist statues, the hand gestures are rich in meanings, they are known as Mudra in Buddhism. Varada mudra denotes the fulfillment of all wishes from all living beings;  Abhaya mudra denotes the blessing to the living beings with strength, making them fearless.

Buddhism was introduced into China during the reign of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han dynasty, developed in the Northern and Southern dynasties, and reached its zenith in the Northern Wei dynasty. Henan, as the central part of the Buddhism influence in the Northern Wei dynasty, boasted abundant varied Buddhist statues and steles which were survived today. Northern Wei court, though a regime established by the ethnic minority, launched a campaign of sinonization from the reign of Emperor Xiaowen, accordingly, Buddhist iconography was spreading into the Central Plains, and the style of robust body with high nose, big eyes, big ears evolved into delicate physiques with tender and well-proportioned facial features.