Most of the inscription appearing on the back of the square plinth on which the present figure sits is indecipherable. However, the first four characters appear to be, yong ping wu yuan, which may be translated, '1st year of Yongping'. Yongping is the name of a reign period used by several Chinese rulers. It is possible that the reign period in question might be that of Xuan Wudi, of the Northern Wei dynasty which began in AD 508. Some of the other characters appear to be zao shi jia..., which may be translated, 'made [an image of] Shijia (i.e. Sakyamuni Buddha]'.
This distinctive treatment of the drapery that cascades over the dais in a symmetrical, wave-like pattern can be found on other central Buddha figures in stone steles of Northern Wei date, such as the example from Xi'an, Shaanxi, illustrated by Y. Sugimura, Chinese Sculpture, Bronzes, and Jades in Japanese Collections, Tokyo, 1966, no. 4, and the stele illustrated by S. Matsubara, Chuugoku bukkyo chokokushi ron (The Path of Chinese Buddhist Sculpture), vol. 1, Early Six Dynasties, Tokyo, 1955, no. 179.
See, also, the stone stele that, like the present lot, is dated by inscription to 508, where the central figure of Buddha exhibits a similar squareness to the head and similar angular facial features.