Buffaloes have great symbolic significance in Chinese culture and tradition, representing strength, prosperity and tranquility. They are highly respected for playing an important role in farming, and are sometimes romanticized by Buddhists and Daoists as symbols of retreat to a peaceful rural life.
Compare the present lot to a greenish-white jade buffalo with a boy on its back in the collection of the Beijing Art Museum, illustrated in Jade, Gems of Beijing Cultural Relics Series, Beijing, 2002, p. 190, pl. 221. An Imperial inscribed white jade example is in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, illustrated in the exhibition Virtuous Treasures - Chinese Jades for the Scholar's Table, University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, 2007, Catalogue, p. 168. pl. 95. Also see a white jade buffalo dated to the Qianlong period (1736-1795), sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 3951.