Preparatory Drawing for a copper repousse seated image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya

Artist: Kuber Singh Shakya (ca. 1881-1957)
Patron: King of Bhutan
Historical period(s)
ca. 1950
Black ink, jewelers' rouge, red and black pencil on paper
H x W: 356 × 199 cm (140 3/16 × 78 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Rudra Raj Shakya and family in memory of his father Kuber Singh Shakya
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Buddhism, Maitreya Buddha, Nepal

Ca. 1950 to 1957
The artist, Kuber Singh Shakya (ca. 1881-1957), Patan [1]

From 1957 to 1998
Rudea Raj Shakya, Patan, by inheritance from his father, Kuber Singh Shakya [2]

From 1998
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Rudea Raj Shakya and family


[1] The artist Kuber Singh Shakya made this drawing in preparation for one of the copper repousse he was commissioned to make for the King of Bhutan in the 1950s.

[2] After the artist, Kuber Singh Shakya's death in 1957 the drawing remained in the home of his family including his son Rudea Raj Shakya. In 1997, when Mary Slusser, a research associate at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery was visiting the home of the artist in Patan, Nepal, she convinced them to donate the drawing to the museum. Paperwork was signed and this drawing was formally accessioned into the Arthur M. Sackler on January 9, 1998.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Rudea Raj Shakya


The drawing is the original cartoon for a more than three-meter high, multi-part, copper repousse image of Maitreya commissioned from Kuber Singh Sakya, a Newar artisan, by the king of Bhutan in the 1950's. 

Kuber Singh Sakya seems to have been an infatigable worker who made hundreds of repousse sculptures--like the Maitreya, many of them monumental--chaityas, prayer wheels, and for architectural adjuncts, imagery, decorative details, and complex temple pinnacles. For how many of them he made drawings is unknowable but whatever his output only five survive. Three are of an Eleven-headed Avalokiteshvara related to identical images made for twin monasteries in Tibet, and the fifth, and largest, is the Maitreya. 

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 176-177.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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