In this stele, Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha) bears a benign smile in the hand gestures of fearlessness and gift giving. He is flanked by two bodhisattvas and two disciples-all standing against a mandorla (almond-shaped halo) adorned with a stupa and flying heavenly beings. On the reverse side, the Buddha sits in a pensive pose with his head tilted, mediating under twin sala trees. This position is reserved for Shakyamuniâ€™s first meditation or Maitreyaâ€™s meditation. The joint appearance of Shakyamuni and Maitreya (the future Buddha) on two sides of a stele was a favorite scheme of the Northern Qi period.