This attractive image of a Bodhisattva head is remarkable for its serene countenance with its contemplative and deeply spiritual expression. The bejeweled turban is part of the rich suite of aristocratic accoutrements known as bodhisattvabharana which indicated the deity's divine identity and also acted as symbols representing the material and spiritual wealth to be gained by lay worshippers. As suggested by Francine Tissot, Gandhara, Paris 1985, pp. 212-215, the turban is based on an original which combined a metal cap, repousse decorated and textile.
This head is in superb condition retaining original pigments and it is reasonable to assume that many schist figures were originally polychromed, following Greco-roman prototypes, or in some cases gilt. Only very few examples bearing remnants exist in stone as opposed to stucco. It is likely that the whole sculpture was originally gilt, the underlying red pigment lending the gold a warmer tone in areas allowing for a variegated effect.
Compare a stylistically similar but smaller grey schist head of a Bodhisattva Sotheby's New York, 25 March 1999, lot 138.