The group of molded porcelain cicada-form snuff bottles to which this example belongs first appeared in the early nineteenth century. For another very similar example from the Caretti Collection, see H. Moss, Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 5, p. 59, fig. 43. See other examples and versions in Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 4, p. 5, top, center; and R. Hall, Snuff Bottles IX, no. 8. The molded porcelain model may have evolved from jade cicada-form bottles which were popular at the Court during the eighteenth century. See Moss, Graham and Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle: The J & J Collection, nos. 7 and 8; and Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 1, Jade, nos. 58 and 59.
The cicada is a symbol of immortality because it has a long life cycle of up to seventeen years. It also became a symbol of extended youth and of happiness on account of its joyous chirping.