The Bodhisatta was born between two Sal trees and as soon as he was born, he took seven steps to the north
and announced: “I am chief in the world, I am best in the world, I am first in the world. This is my last birth. There will be no further rebirths.”
The Bodhisatta was sitting under the Bodhi Tree facing East
when he became enlightened.
Just before his parinibbana, at his request, the Buddha laid on his right side with his head pointing north and facing west
, under two Sal trees.
These are the traditional postures. The Buddha thought it important enough to deliberately use these postures.
When you go to Kusinara you can see the BuddhaRupa facing west:http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... ilgrim.htm
However - as statues of the Buddha did not appear for hundreds of years after his death, one can wonder at the very use of statues themselves not just their positioning