This typical manner of Maitreya seated on a throne with legs pendant is known in Sanskrit as 'bhadrasana' (auspicious posture) or pralamba-pad-asana (extended legs posture). It is the posture in which Maitreys sits in his heavenly abode (Tushita) and preaches.
Maitreya, also known as the future Buddha, who has still to come, is now thought to be waiting in Tushita Heaven for the right time to come down to earth. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya references a time when Dharma will be forgotten on Jambudvipa. It is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravāda, Mahāyāna,Vajrayāna), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when Dharma will be forgotten on Earth.
Maitreya's coming is characterized by a number of physical events. For example, the oceans are predicted to decrease in size, allowing Maitreya to traverse them freely. These events will also enable the reintroduction of the "true" Dhamma to the people, in turn allowing the construction of a new world.