The cockscomb plant in Chinese is jiguanhua and the cockerel or rooster is gongji. Together they suggest the phrase guanshang jiguan which may be translated as 'may you continuously rise in rank'. A large cockerel on a rock suggests the phrase shishang daji (may there be good fortunte in the home).
This model is closely related to the Qianlong prototype, although the addition of the cockscomb appears to be a 19th century addition. Several pairs of cockerels are recorded as being sold during the middle of the 18th century (see W. R. Sargent, The Copeland Collection, Salem, 1991, p. 142), when animal and bird models became particularly popular. See ibid., nos. 65 and 66 for two pairs of Qianlong cockerels.
A pair of very similar, but considerably smaller, cockerels was sold in our Amsterdam Rooms, 22 and 23 September 2009, lot 296.