The skilfully carved recumbent lion is depicted with a playful cub climbing on its back. Both animals are rendered with bulging eyes and heavy bushy brows below well-pronounced bosses covering their heads. Their mouths are half open revealing their fangs and upper teeth.
The larger animal has its head turned backwards with one paw resting on a brocade ball tied with a long ribbon trailing along towards its back paw.
Both animals are portrayed with hanging leaf-shaped ears and long locks of wavy mane extending down their backs ending in long trifurcated tails.
The patina is of a warm reddish-brown colour.
Length 22 cm
A large lion (dashi 大獅) and a small lion (xiao shi 小獅) is close in pronunciation to tai shi shaoshi 太師少師 (shi meaning 'great master').
The two lions are therefore a pun for ' May you and your descendant achieve high rank'.
The brocade ball tied with long ribbons is a sign of longevity.
See Terese Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, San Francisco, 2006, p. 116