This image is representative of a group of exquisitely cast gilt-bronze Buddhist figures made in China in the first half of the fifteenth century that display a style influenced by the art of Tibet. In the preceding century, under the Yuan dynasty, the authority of Mongol rulers had become closely associated with Tibetan Buddhist, or lamaist, ritual. A tradition of lamaist art was established in China which seems to be carried on in work such as the present example. Missions to Tibet during the early part of the Ming dynasty sought to maintain good relations with the Tibetan lamas. Images such as this one appear to have been made as gifts, as the inscriptions would seem to indicate, that were exchanged on these missions. Compare the similar Yongle-marked gilt-bronze bodhisattva figures in the Museum Rietberg, Zürich, illustrated by H. Uhlig, On the Path to Enlightenment, Museum Rietberg, Zürich, 1995, p. 99, no. 52, and in the Chang Foundation, illustrated in Buddhist Images in Gilt Metal, Taipei, 1993, p. 115, no. 50. See, also, the related Yongle-marked gilt-bronze figure of Manjusri, sold in our New York rooms, 21 March 2001, lot 88.