Bronzes in the Tibeto-Chinese style produced during the reign of Emperor Yongle in the first quarter of the 15th century and bearing his reign mark, are highly distinguished for their unsurpassed craftsmanship, overall refinement and gracefulness. Executed by the Imperial ateliers, they display a highly consistent and uniform style,which evolved out of the influence of the Nepalese artist Anige (1244-1306) at the Yuan court and the close links with Tibet established by the Yongle Emperor. The distinct Imperial style includes double-lotus bases with beaded rims and characteristic facial features with broadened outline, gently arched brows above the lidded eyes and subtle smile, all finished with great attention to detail. Yongle gilt bronze figures of Buddha, of which this is a very fine example, are comparatively rarer than figures of Bodhisattvas.
Compare the very similar gilt-bronze figure of Sakyamuni, also with a Yongle mark but of slightly smaller size (22cm.), in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, acquired in 1959 and illustrated in Selected Gems of Cultural Relics; newly collected in the Palace Museum in the last fifty years, Beijing, 1999, p. 126, no. 163. See, also, the similar figure from the Victoria and Albert Museum, dated to the Ming dynasty illustrated in Fojiao Diaosu Mingpin Tulu, Beijing, 1997, p. 175, no. 167.
A very similar Ming imperial gilt-bronze figure of the Buddha Sakyamuni inscribed with a Xuande mark from the collection of Mrs. Lucy Aldrich in the Museum of Fina Arts, Boston is illustrated by U. von Schroeder in Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, p. 522, no. 147B.