This vessel belongs to group of jades made in imitation of ancient forms. The name 'champion' vase is a pun on the word ying (falcon) and xiong (bear), the two creatures, or mythical variations on the two, joining the adjacent vases and together forming the word yingxiong, 'champion'. Alternatively, this type of vessel is also known as a 'nuptial cup', he jing bei, as it is believed that during the Ming dynasty, it was used as a ritual wine vessel during the wedding ceremony. The double cylinders were filled with wine to be drunk by the bride and groom as part of the marriage rites.
Compare the similarly carved green jade 'champion' vase and cover inscribed with a Qianlong fanggu (after the antique) mark in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 42 - Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1996, pp. 184-5, no. 151. See, also, the similar, though larger (26.7 cm.) Qianlong-period 'champion' vase and cover from the collection of Alan & Simone Hartman, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 28 November 2006, lot 1382.