This 80-centimeter high gilt-bronze pensive Maitreya Bodhisattva is seated on a stool-like pedestal with his right leg crossed over his left, the fingers of his right hand gently touching his cheek.
It was acquired by a Japanese collector in 1912 and donated to the Japanese Government-General of Joseon before being turned over to its museum in 1916.
Currently, the statue is on display at the National Museum of Korea.
The bodhisattva is wearing a lavishly decorated headgear from which two strands are drawn over to both shoulders.
He has a rather squarely, plump face wearing a benign smile and a sleek, imposing body with slender limbs and comparatively large hands and feet, all of which highlight his elegant physical appearance.
He is clothed in a celestial veil robe that covers both shoulders before being draped down to cover the knees.
The lower garment, made of a rather thick fabric, has many U-shaped folds exhibiting excellent workmanship.
The oval pedestal on which the bodhisattva places his left leg is decorated with a lotus motif, but the mandorla (Buddhist halo of light) is missing.
An X-ray inspection carried out in 1963 revealed that it has no trace of defect or repair either inside or out, and that it was made of a rare material using unique techniques.
Art historians believe, based on the statue’s balanced physique, beautifully rendered robe folds, and pensive look, that it was made in the mid- or late 6th century during which the Korean style of bodhisattva images emerged.