This sandstone head is remarkable for its elegant proportions and sensitive carving. The fleshy face, arched eyebrows, slit eyes, full lips and hair drawn back into a high chignon are characteristic of stone sculptures made during the Tang dynasty. The facial features are considerably more Chinese in nature and can be regarded as a more mature style which arose during the 7th to 8th centuries.
Compare a few stone heads of bodhisattvas carved with similar features, such as one in the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, illustrated in Hai-Wai Yi-Chen: Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Buddhist Sculpture, Taipei, 1986, no. 116; one in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, illustrated in Hai-Wai Yi-Chen: Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Buddhist Sculpture II, Taipei, 1990, no. 128; and one in Museum Rietberg, Zurich (accession no. RCH 131); one from the Collection of Arthur Wiesenberger (1896-1970), sold at Sotheby’s New York, 11 September 2012, lot 118; and from Yamanaka & Co., New York, sold at Sotheby’s New York, 16 September 2015, lot 421.