Bodhisattva Maitreya

Thailand, Buriram Province, Prakhon Chai
8th century
Copper alloy with inlays of silver and black stone
H. 38 in. (96.5 cm); 1979.63

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Artist Comments

Joel Shapiro

The bottle and the bronze: one practical, the other religious, are both invested with the deepest meaning and purpose.

I would like to see this artifact in opposition to the Maitreya. Both are so sculptural such fully expanded expressions. The Maitreya sets a standard of behavior. I think that is what gods do-that is their job. The bottle is less directive but has its own spirituality. The Maitreya I think is about thought and nature in equilibrium while coping with the contingencies of existence. This is how I would like to function in the world.