For a discussion of the Official School of hard-stone carving, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, under no. 258, where many subsequent examples are illustrated.
The popular subject of a monkey (hou) with a bee or wasp (feng) provides the rebus, fenghou ('To be bestowed the rank of marquis' - although, here this second highest of five ranks is used as a generic term for high office in general). What stands out in this version of the design is the fact that the monkey appears to be in the very uppermost branches of a pine tree in search of his wasps, which are unusually plentiful, given that one would be enough to establish the symbolism. The fourth wasp may, in fact, have been intended as a lower clump of pine needles, since it is the only one where the artist has not carved in the antennae.