Buffalos have traditionally been greatly prized in China, where they are associated with strength, prosperity and tranquility. The ox or buffalo is one of the twelve horary animals representing one of the twelve branches of the Chinese calendrical system. Buffalo are also associated with farming and the production of food. The poetic view of the buffalo had resonance for Chan Buddhists and Daoists alike, suggesting retreat into a tranquil rural life away from the cities and the responsibilities of public office. For further details, refer to the white jade buffalo offered in the present sale, lot 2009.
Similarly, the depiction of horses appears to be a popular image during the early Qing dynasty among the Manchu rulers who were themselves descendants of nomadic herdsmen. It is known that Emperor Qianlong, whilst still a prince, prided himself as a keen horseman as portrayed in Court paintings such as the hanging scroll painted by Lang Shining, entitled 'Hongli Hunting', included in the exhibition, The Golden Exile, Macao Museum of Art, 2002, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 10.