Portrait models in clay became popular in the early 18th Century and continued throughout the Century and into the early 19th Century. The sensitive modelling of the face of this figure indicates it was probably made as a portrait, although of exceptionally large size. A pair of three-quarter life-size figures of a Chinese merchant or mandarin and his wife were brought to Providence, Rhode Island in circa 1810 and are now in the collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society, although due to deterioration only the clay heads remain, one of which is illustrated by Carl L. Crossman, The Decorative Arts of the China Trade, 1991, pl.186. The only known complete figure of this size is of the Cantonese merchant Yamqua, now in the Peabody Essex Museum; although this figure would originally have had clay head and hands, these have been replaced in painted wood after arriving in Salem. This figure is also illustrated by Crossman, ibid. colour pl. 114.