Maitreya is the Buddha of Future, the successor of Shakyamuni. Maitreya was popular among the Gelug order and was especially revered in Mongolia as the harbinger of a new Mongol age. In the annual Maitreya Festival at Da Khuree, this sculpture of Maitreya made by Zanabazar was carried around the ceremonial circle in a green horse-headed cart (see nos. 42 and 43).
Maitreya holds the elixir of immortality in his left hand, and his right hand is raised in the gesture of argument. A pleasing contrast of matte and polished surfaces is especially well displayed on this work, with its streamlined limbs and simplified decoration. Maitreya's harmonious, well-balanced form is complemented by a benevolent expression and an elegant radiance.