The Bodhisattva Mile (Sanskrit Maitreya), seated in “Pensive Pose”

Historical period(s)
Northern Qi dynasty, ca. 575
Marble with traces of pigment and gesso
H x W x D: 33 x 17.5 x 15.4 cm (13 x 6 7/8 x 6 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 17: Promise of Paradise
Sculpture, Stone

Figure: Maitreya

Buddhism, child, China, halo, lotus, Maitreya Buddha, meditation, Northern Qi dynasty (550 - 577), reincarnation, ushnisha

To 1911
Ta Ge Shang, Beijing, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Ta Ge Shang in 1911 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 308, pg. 76, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ta Ge Shang (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


This sculpture of a bodhisattva, or enlightened being, probably represents the Buddha of the Future (Maitreya in the Indian language Sanskrit) while he was waiting to be reborn into the world as a Buddha. Maitreya waits in heaven meditating beneath a Dragon Tree, which Chinese sculptors typically interpreted to be a ginkgo, like the tree here. The depiction of children emerging from lotuses in a pond on the base of this sculpture is a rare detail on an image of Maitreya.

Published References
  • Jung Hee Lee. The Contemplating Bodhisattva Images of Asia, with Special Emphasis on China and Korea. Ann Arbor. pl. 67.
  • Chugoku bijutsu [Chinese Art in Western Collections]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1973. vol. 3: pl. 40.
  • Mizuno Seiichi. Bronze and Stone Sculpture of China: From the Yin to the Tang dynasty. Tokyo. pl. 65.
  • Sadajiro Yamanaka. To-so seikwa [Selected Relics of T'ang and Sung Dynasties from Collections in Europe and America]. Osaka, 1928-1929. vol. 2, pl. 13.
  • Sigisbert Chrétien Bosch Reitz. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture. Exh. cat. New York. fig. 322.
  • Sir Leigh Ashton. An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Sculpture. London. pl. 20.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 75, vol. 1: p. 171.
  • Denise Patry Leidy. The Ssu-wei Figure in Sixth century A.D. Chinese Buddhist Sculpture. vol. XLIII. p. 24, fig. 4.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 42-43.
  • Sherman Lee. The Freer's Studies in Connoisseurship (Review): Museum News. vol. 44, no. 1 New York, Spring 1984. pp. 68-69, fig. 8.
  • Denise Patry Leidy. The Art of Buddhism: An Introduction to its History & Meaning., 1st ed. Boston. p. 88.
  • Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions. Nashville. p. 112.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 222, fig. 154.
  • Langdon Warner. The Freer Gift of Eastern Art to America. vol. 23, no. 8 New York, August. pp. 590-594.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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