According to legend the Tang emperor Ming Huang was saved from illness when Zhong Kui appeared in a dream and killed the fever demon. Zhong Kui has since appeared in myriad paintings as the 'demon queller', some humorous with playful little devils, some with a political message, such as a desire to rid the country of foreign influence. This porcelain model of Zhong Kui is in keeping with the former, lighthearted portrayal.
For another famille rose portrayal of Zhong Kui, this time shown sprawled drunkenly against wine pots and rockwork while still holding his wine cup, see the example illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Porcelains with Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 53, no. 44.