This is a stone sculpture of the head of a Buddha. Peacefully gazing downwards, the figure has a serene facial expression, radiating an approachable and amiable aura. From the positioning of the head, it is highly plausible that it was originally a standing figure.
Standing Buddha is a prominent form of sculpture under the patronage of the Northern Wei imperial family, who commissioned the carving of rock caves in Longmen and Gongxian, both in Henan province, in the first quarter of the 6th century, which typically show seated or standing Buddhas flanked by two bodhisattvas. Besides these massive stone carvings in cave temples, many free-standing steles, also often with two bodhisattva figures on either side of a central Buddha statue, were commissioned in that century, which followed the artistic language introduced by these grand Buddhist cave sculpture projects, which exerted an overwhelming influence on Chinese sculpture of the period in general.
The figure bears a number of distinctive features of early Northern Dynasties Buddhist art style, including a wide nose, small linear eyes, and wave-formed lips.