The present schist sculpture of a bodhisattva is of exceptional size and sculptural quality. It is likely he would have held a water vessel in the left hand, identifying him as the bodhisattva Maitreya. This identification is reinforced by the hairstyle, which is generally reserved for this bodhisattva. Maitreya is considered the Buddha of the future - when the dharma is forgotten on Earth, he will descend from the Tushita Heaven to be born in our realm as the next Buddha. His iconic water vessel, the kumbha, is found in many different contexts within Indian sculpture, but is almost always a symbol of fertility and life. It is an apt visual icon, therefore, for Maitreya's role as a progenitor of future peace and order.
When he is born on Earth, Maitreya will be of Brahmin stock, and is depicted in rich robes similar to that of the historical Gautama Buddha, prior to his renunciation of worldly goods. His vestments include a foliate collar, a rope-work necklace with a makara-head pendant, and a cord with cylindrical amulet boxes of a type still in use in South Asia. The heavy folds of his sanghati display the naturalistic attention to drapery characteristic of the Gandharan period that is a holdover from the earlier Greco-Roman influence in the region.