SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Maitreya: Paradise Regained

Dr Peter Sharrock (SOAS)

Date: 10 December 2008Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 10 December 2008Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Seminar

Belief in the appearance among men of a Buddhist 'messiah', in either a remote or imminent future, may have played a critical role in the propagation and eventually the survival of Buddhism. Cults focused on the descent of the future Buddha Maitreya seem indeed to have been both prominent and widely-distributed during the early spread of Buddhism across Asia in the middle centuries of the first millennium CE. Such reflections arise from a comparative examination of Buddha and Bodhisattva icons from Gandhara, Amaravati, Ajanta, China, Tibet, Japan, Java and Dvaravati, which bear the iconographic attributes that came to be associated with Maitreya. Textual support for the importance of Maitreya cults is adduced from recent research into The Verification-Sutra,an untranslated Chinese text on Maitreya.

Organiser: Dr Crispin Branfoot and Dr Elizabeth Moore

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