The elephant is an auspicious symbol which is used in numerous rebuses to convey peace, prosperity and good fortune. Compare with a very similar, but slightly larger spinach-green jade elephant on a French ormolu base, from the estate of Empress Friedrich, Schloss Friedrichshof, included in the exhibition, Chinese Jade, Spink & Son, London, 1998, 23.
Ornately embellished figures of elephants in various materials were found in halls and throne rooms in the Imperial palace, such as the pair of spinach-green jade elephants with cloisonné caparisons illustrated by Zhang Hongxing, The Qianlong Emperor, Treasures from the Forbidden City, Edinburgh 2002, p. 44, no. 10. Enamel and gilt-bronze examples in the Yangxin Hall, where the Emperor received his officials, are illustrated in Palaces of the Forbidden City, Hong Kong, 1986, pls. 78-9.