The facial features of this finely-carved andesite head share physiognomic elements inspired by the preceding Gupta artistic tradition of Northern India, such as the well-defined nose and snail-shell curls covering both the head and ushnisha. This remarkable head also closely resembles the manifold transcendental buddhas which adorn the great stupa of Borobudur in Central Java, created in the early ninth century under the Shailendra dynasty.
Compare the precise execution of the stylized, right-whorled snail-shell curls, the enigmatic smile and the powerful, square jaw with another ninth-century andesite Javanese head of Buddha from the collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, sold at Christie’s New York, 17 March 2015, lot 23, illustrated below.
For a further related example, see P. Pal, A Collecting Odyssey: Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, Chicago, 1997, p. 104, cat. no. 126.