Dedicatory Inscription by Muqiu Haishen
Dedicatory Inscription by Muqiu Haishen
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Dedicatory Inscription by Muqiu Haishen

This arch-shaped stele has a relief of the seven Buddhas of Antiquity on the outer rim, while in the middle there are a Buddha, two disciples and two Bodhisattvas.  The figure in the center is Maitreya Buddha, whose left hand was placed on his knee and his right palm facing outward in Abhaya Mudra (gesture of fearlessness).  Two pairs of devotees are depicted at the bottom, one on each side.  In the center of the bottom register, there is a orb-shaped incense burner with two lions on the sides.  Interestingly, the lions are not looking towards the center but to the sides, facing the devotees. 
The devotee Muqiu Haishen built this monument of Maitreya Buddha in the hope of the wellbeing for his families.  The royal family and the country were mentioned first in the dedicatory inscriptions, but the main subjects were the parents and ancestors of the devotee, with the theme being the wellbeing of the ancestors and their rebirth in the Pure Land.  Even though this was a statue of Maitreya Buddha, there was not a lot of relevance between the dedicatory inscriptions and the Maitreya beliefs.  It is likely that the devotee had chosen Maitreya Buddha as the theme simply because that was the trend at then.   
Item No.
Unearthed at an unknown location, currently stored at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

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