Don't know the origin, but I find it an interesting idea. What is conveyed is a message of anxiety. The facial expression; a Madonna-ish moulding of the face reminescent of early Spanish alter pieces. The position of the shoulders and arms, especially the slightly off-kilter of the neck and shoulders showing uncertainty; the hands. The stiffness of the posture, the starkness of the clothing treatment, all these elements instantly telegraph worry, dread, a holding in, restraint, correctness, stress.
I wonder if I could make one like this, but in my own style. Maybe not life size, as I feel this one must be. I would probably make one that would be a little easier to live with......
How would I construct it? The balance would be tricky to say nothing of the process of drying it without cracks. Maybe not so much body, thicker arms (and a less worried expression) would be a workable modification of the idea.
Maybe the trick of attacking it to a clay backing in exaggerated bas relief would work.
Or, as one clay figure sculpture artist I know dose it, make components that are later attached together on a support concealed inside. Like the places where clothing overlaps the figure.
And maybe a watercolor-y surface treatment.