The present lot is modeled with a rectangular socket leading to a hollow interior, and is pierced at either side with a small aperture. This design suggests it was made for attachment, and it likely functioned as an ornamental fitting. The overall form of the present lot can be compared to the decorative fittings set on either end of burial pillows. See for example a pair of gilt-bronze fittings, made in the form of an animal head, flanking the jade-inset pillow of Liu Sheng, the Prince of Zhongshan of the Western Han dynasty, excavated from his tomb in Mancheng, Hebei province, published in Institute of Archaeology, CASS, ed., Mancheng Hanmu fajue baogao [Archaeological report of the Han tombs in Mancheng], vol. 2, Beijing, 1980, pl. XLII, fig. 1.
The subject choice of the present fitting may suggest its possible association with Buddhism. Known in Mandarin as hehua or lianhua, the lotus represents qualities associated with Buddhism such as purity and perfection, as the flower rises undefiled from muddy waters. The eight petals of lotus flowers represent the Eightfold Path of Buddha’s teachings, and Buddhist figures are usually depicted sitting on double lotus pedestals.