Twin Buddhas

Northern Qi, 550-577 AD
Shanghai Museum

This is the reverse side of the stele on the previous page. A lotus niche at the top is divided into two registers. In the upper register, the "twin Buddhas" Shakyamuni and Prabhutaratna sit side-by-side. Prabhutaratna, a Buddha from the distant past, had come visiting in a flying stupa (not shown) to hear Shakyamuni preach the Lotus Sutra. In the lower register, Maitreya, his legs crossed at the ankles, is supported by several small figures and flanked by disciples, bodhisattvas, and attendants. Below the lotus niche is a row of attendants.