With the raised right hand with the palm facing the raised left hand, which is touching the left shoulder, it stands on a lotus, which is carved separately and placed under it. […] The existence of some ruins of a brick and stone wall surrounding the statue indicates that originally it was in a shrine or image house. The robe clings to the body and the intricately carved pleats and folds show the influence of the Gandhara School of sculpture. The statue is considered to be one of the best sculptures of a standing Buddha, not only in Sri Lanka, but also throughout the Buddhist world.
There is a theory that this image is the work of a sculptor named Bana; a statue that is very similar to this, but only partially finished, is located in a village nearby and attributed to him. However, a further theory suggests that the great image at Avukana is the work of his teacher. The story goes that the two statues were the result of a competition between a master and his pupil. While the master sculpted the Avukana statue, the pupil (Bana) made one nearby. Whoever finished his work first was to ring a bell. The master finished first and won the competition, while is pupil left his work unfinished. The Avukana statue is considered the better of the two.
-W. Vivian De Thabrew, Monuments and Temples of Orthodox Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka (2013).