The longma is an auspicious creature that, according to legend, is said to represent gratitude.
The present beast is modelled to appear like a horse, and is very similar in style to the mythical creature found on a well-known group of Yongzheng-marked doucai porcelain dishes, such as the one in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 206, no. 35. For a jade example of a horse carrying books, see Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 90; and an example sold in these Rooms, 28 November 2005, lot 1337 (fig. 1).