Nalanda flourished as a principal Buddhist center and university during the Pala period and was a primary site for the production of bronzes reaching a high point during the 9th century. The relative scarcity of remaining examples can be explained by the intrinsic value of the material itself, which may have resulted in the melting down of old sculptures for the production of new ones. By the 9th century, a mature and highly refined style was achieved that served as a defining prototype for later developments in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia.
The present work displays the essential features of this ninth century maturation, particularly with regard to the elegantly modeled, slightly bent posture of the figure. While earlier examples, such as an eighth century Bodhisattva in the Patna museum, exhibit a similar style and composition, a century later the sculptors had honed their craft allowing for greater corporal expressiveness and movement of form (U. von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, 1981, p. 230-231, fig. 52F).