The ram is a symbol of filial piety, kindness and patience. The three rams, san yang, are also an auspicious motif, related both to the sun and to male children, as they provide a rebus for san yang kai tai, the opening up of the new growth in spring, which in turn symbolises happiness and good fortune.
Compare with three jade groups of the three rams in the Palace Museum, Beijing, one illustrated in Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 88 (fig. 1); and the other two smaller groups illustrated in Zhongguo Yuqi Quanji, vol. 6, pls. 269 and 307; one in the Tianjin Municipal Museum, illustrated in Cang Yu, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 216; a group included in S. Marchant & Son's 80th Anniversary Exhibition, Chinese Jades from Han to Qing, London, 2005, Catalogue no. 74; another from the Hartman Collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 November 2006, lot 1418; and another also sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 300 Years of Jade, 30 October 2000, lot 695.