Theis portrayed here as the patron of fishermen and other mariners. He stands upon a circular base designed to resemble a fish breaking through the waves. Chinese coastal communities in particular revere this form of the to this day.
This statue was made at the Dehua kilns in Fujian, in south-east China, which are renowned for the delicacy and playfulness of their exquisite porcelain figures. With its deeply cut and cascading drapery folds, this example is especially noteworthy.