Mandalas are abstract representations of the places where buddhas dwell. Each comprises a particular arrangement of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other figures within a geometrically ordered palace. Although mandalas are usually meant to be visualized in meditation, they can also be painted and sculpted.
This wooden bodhisattva may have been part of a monumental three-dimensional mandala. Located within a temple, the assemblage would have constituted a powerful space for ritual practice. Almost life-size, the sculptures would have aided practitioners in imagining and internalizing the mandala and its deities, ultimately recognizing no distinction between a buddha and themselves.