This charming and utilitarian carving would have been a fine addition to a scholar's desk. It is similar in conceit and execution to a similarly small (8.5 cm. long) double covered box, one half of which is carved in the shape of an orange with two bats on top, in the Qing Court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 44 - Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Hong Kong, 2002, no. 168, where it is dated mid-Qing dynasty.
According to T.T. Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006, p. 261, no. 9.8.3, the combination of persimmon, lily bulb and fungus form the rebus, "May one hundred things be as you wish".