In 1767, the Jian Yuan was completed in the Changchun Yuan complex (a series of Imperial gardens to the West of Beijing adjoining the Yuanming Yuan, known collectively as the Summer Palace). One of the halls within the Jian Yuan was the Guyue Xuan (Ancient Moon Pavilion). The Changchun Yuan was intended as a retirement home for the Qianlong Emperor, although he never took up full-time residence there. The Guyue Xuan was completed in 1767, prompting the Emperor to order a group of wares, mostly enamels on glass, bearing the name of that particular pavilion.
The motif of an eagle standing on one leg, with sun and pine tree, imparts several symbolic meanings. An eagle (ying) perched on one leg (duli) is a rebus for the phrase yingxiong duli ('A great man towers over his peers'). The imagery evokes ideals of courage, loyalty and the ability to achieve great things. The combination of an eagle and a pine tree conveys a wish that such a great man will live a long life. See a very similar example illustrated by M. Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton University Art Museum, p. 121, no. 138.