W80xD60xH130mm, China

This is a toy from the famous Nie estate village, it is believed in the Ming dynasty a man named Nie arrived from He Bei on the run from a business failure.  On his desperation he arrived with his wife to a village in Shan Dong, even exhausted and penniless his mind was still reminiscent on the days of high life.  He grabbed a handful of clay and formed it in a clay tin, he then filled it with a bit fireworks and left the top open with a small hole.  Upon ignition, there comes an amazing fireworks display, it instantly became a hit and he name it Guo Zi Hua (fireworks in a pot).  It soon turned into a speciality of the village, the clay figure became more decorative and take on figurines of humans and different animals, so after the display of the fireworks, one get to keep a clay toy as well.  As time goes by the fireworks were taken out and the focus started on the clay figurine toy itself.

This is a pair of clay lions which about from being a toy also can function as bookends.