Manjusri (Wenshu), the bodhisattva of wisdom, is usually shown seated on a lion and is often shown in a triad with the Buddha Sakyamuni and the bodhisattva Samantabhadra (Puxian) who is shown seated on an elephant. In this particular representation of Manjusri a qilin, a mythical creature, has been substituted for the lion. Like the present figure, Manjusri is often depicted wearing a five-point crown representing the Wutaishan.
Compare the very similar figure illustrated by O. Sirén, 'Studien zur Chinesischen Plastik de Post-T'angzeit', Ostasiatische Zeitschrift, (New series, 4th year) vol. 1/2, Berlin, 1927, pl. 8, fig. 18. See, also, the figure of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra seated on an elephant illustrated by d'Argencé, ed., Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture in the Avery Brundage Collection, Tokyo, 1974, pl. 149, which is dated to the Yuan dynasty. Another similar figure, also a figure of Samantabhadra, was included in the exhibition, Ancient Chinese Sculptural Treasures: Carvings in Wood, Kaohsiung Musuem of Fine Art, 1998, no. 8, dated Yuan. A standing figure of a bodhisattva included in the exhibition, Chinese Buddhist Sculpture, 10 June-12 July 1997, Eskenazi, London, no. 16, has a very similar face and is dated Yuan.