This sculpture was labelled ‘Shakyamuni, Western Tibet, Yongle period’ by the Cleveland Museum of Art, it has also been labelled ‘Maitreya, Central Tibet’ on the Himalayan Art Resources website. Both the historical buddha and Maitreya (when depicted as the buddha-to-be), can be seated in the vajra position with their hands doing the dharmacakra mudra.
However, this buddha has a lotus incised on the palm of his hands and the sole of his feet, as Maitreya occasionally does, whereas Shakyamuni would have a dharma wheel (dharmacakra).
The double-lotus base on which he is seated is indeed typical of the Yongle period in China and was adopted by Tibetan artists at the time but not in Western Tibet, where the base had plump apple-like petals. Besides, his eyes are inlaid with silver and the hem of his robe is richly incised with a foliate pattern, two features which point to the Central Tibet, famous for its ateliers in the Tsang region.
It is worth noting that, rather than the standard conical shape, his chignon forms a prominent ball on top of his head. It is topped with a small lotus bud finial.
This Maitreya is seated on a throne, both legs pendant, his feet resting on a large lotus flower, his robe covering one shoulder. His right hand does the abhaya mudra, the other holds a water pot which is different to the standard kundika and recalls the more archaic Gandharan pot of water. The edge of his garment is incised with a geometrical pattern. He has a Nepalese-style oval face and low chignon.
The above is seated on a throne covered with a cloth, his feet resting on a roughly shaped lotus flower with incised rather than sculpted petals. He is wrapped in a robe (sanghati) that covers both shoulders and reaches to his shins (over his ankle-length dhoti), the front panel delicately arranged like a flower over his lap. He has a squarish face with gentle Tibetan facial features and individually sculpted hair locks, the chignon topped with a lotus bud. His legs and feet are under-developped, giving full protagonism to the upper part of the body and the face.