Buddhism flourished during the Qing dynasty, and was encouraged by the devotion of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors and their successors. As a result of its popularity, the production of Buddhist statuary, ritual objects, vessels and other implements became widespread, and a variety of materials were employed in their manufacture. While jade was amongst these materials, large jade figures of Buddhist deities appear to be rare. See a much smaller (13.6 cm.), similarly dressed white jade seated Buddha, dated to the mid-Qing dynasty, in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Yang Boda in Chinese Jades Throughout the Ages, vol. 12, Hong Kong, 1997, no. 103.
Compare, also, a smaller (21 cm.) seated white jade figure of Pindola, formerly in the Nott Collection, illustrated in Chinese Jades in the Stanley Charles Nott Collection, West Palm Beach, 1942, pl. XII, where it is dated to the Jiaqing period. Of particular note is the similarity in carving style and the relatively broad features, which are also exhibited on the present figure.