The combination of ruby-red overlay, mask-and-ring handles and two popular Imperial subjects suggests manufacture at the Palace glassworks in Beijing.
The elephant stands for strength, wisdom and intelligence. The vase represents eternal harmony. Together, the characters for "elephant" and "vase" form the rebus taiping youxiang (May there be a peaceful reign). Carvings of elephants with vases on their backs were put beside the throne to symbolize universal peace.
The lion and its cub also symbolize the most honorable ranks in the civil service, as the first character in the Chinese name for lion (shizi) is homophonous with the word meaning "teacher." Here, the larger lion (dashi) represents the Grand Tutor (taishi) and the cub (xiaoshi) signifies the tutor to the heir to the throne (shaoshi). The symbolism of the imagery on this bottle would have made it suitable as an Imperial gift for holders of these ranks or for those aspiring to such lofty positions.