Jalandhara, the "Chosen One" or "Bearer of the Net," is one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas, who are thought to have lived between the eighth and the twelfth centuries. They represent all those who have, within a single lifetime, attained direct realization of the Buddha's teachings.
The very unusual mudra in which the present figure holds his hands is named after the mahasiddha Jalandhara, and it is very rare to find this mudra depicted in Chinese Buddhist figures. A small gilt-bronze seated Buddha shown with arms and hands held in the same position is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, Chinese Antiquities: Ancient Ceramics, Gold and Stone, Osaka Bijutsu Club, 1932, no. 15, where it is dated to the Tang dynasty.
Stylistic features of this rare figure, especially the lotus throne and the face, conform to those of a group of gilt-bronze images of seated bodhisattvas of Liao dynasty date, including examples in the British Museum, the Shanghai Museum, the Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, and the Rjiksmuseum, Amsterdam. See W. Zwalf, ed., Buddhism, Art and Faith, London, 1985, no. 294; R.Y. Lefebvre d'Argencé, Treasures from the Shanghai Museum: 6000 Years of Chinese Art, Shanghai and San Francisco, 1983, no. 21; The Museum of East Asian Art, Inaugural Exhibition, vol. 2, Bath, 1993, no. 277; and Hai-wai yi zhen: Chinese Art in Overseas Collections - Buddhist Sculpture, The National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1990, nos. 146 and 158, respectively. See also, the gilt-bronze figure of a six-armed bodhisattva, of Liao date, sold at Christie's New York, 24 March 2004, lot 81.