Buddhist triad steles in stone were carved in large numbers throughout the Six Dynasties, Sui, and Tang periods, but those with a roof motif, as found in the present stele, are less common. Compare with another three-sided example dated to AD 574 from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, sold at Christie's New York, 14 September 2009, lot 86.
Stone steles of various forms and sizes carved with images of Buddha were popular as a way of venerating Buddha and gaining spiritual favor, not only for those who commissioned them, but also for their ancestors and rulers. These steles depicted Buddha, sometimes in various manifestations, such as Sakyamuni or Maitreya, as well as bodhisattvas, monks, acolytes and donors. They also sometimes depicted the life of Buddha. The depictions chosen often represented the particular deities revered by those who had commissioned the stele.