The present figure is likely a representation of Vairocana, a celestial Buddha who is often regarded as the Dharmakaya or Bliss Body of the historical Buddha. Vairocana is also considered one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, also known as the Five Wisdom Tathagatas, which are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha. The abhisheka mudra displayed by the present figure is one that is associated with Vairocana, along with the dharmadhatu and dharmachakra mudras. Unlike other Buddhas, Vairocana is often depicted wearing an elaborate five-tiered headdress, which may have been separately made and is no longer associated with the present figure. The simple robes that cling to the body reflect the simplicity and purity of Vairocana's character as a symbol of emptiness.
When viewed from the side, the present figure of Vairocana can be seen bent slightly forward, with head looking down at a strong angle. It is quite likely that the present figure was once placed atop a tall pedestal or altar, and would have looked down at those who had come to worship. Similar posture can be seen on another massive (150 cm.) Yuan dynasty gilt-lacquered camphor wood figure of Vairocana included in the exhibition, Ancient Chinese Sculptural Treasures: Carvings in Wood, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, 1998, pp. 46-7, no. 1.