The Gupta Period derives it's name from a long succession of kings bearing the Gupta suffix. By the second half of the fifth century Sarnath becomes the principal center, during the reigns of Buddhagupta and Kumaragupta.
This sculpture is executed in the buff sandstone found at the Chunar quarries close to Sarnath. Three famous and well-published sculptures bearing dedications dated to 474 and 477 display a very close proximity in style, as stone sculpture reached its apex, see J. Rosenfield, 'On the dated carvings of Sarnath', Artibus Asiae, vol. 26, no. 1 (1963), pp. 10-26, figs. 1-3.
When compared to its Mathuran counterparts, Sarnath sculpture displays an even greater level of sensitivity, with gently rounded forms, subtle lines, delicate detail such as the finely delineated folds at the shoulders, and concentration on the essence. It represents the universally acknowledged pinnacle of Indian art.
Carved against an arched backplate, the figure appears to emerge fully rounded. The drapery is completely smooth, as opposed to Gandharan sculpture, revealing a gently stylized bodily outline and emphasis on the hands and their gestures.
Compare with a closely related example in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd as illustrated below, equally employing an arched backplate with scalloped rim and beaded border. It is very likely that they belong to the same atelier.