The Monkey King (who actually has a name - 孫悟空 Sūnwùkōng) is one of the most famous Chinese fictional heroes. A brash, defiant super-monkey with awesome powers and fighting skill, equipped with a mystical staff, he shakes both heaven and hell with his antics. When his rampaging is finally put to a stop by the Buddha himself, he is forced to accompany the monk Tripitaka to India to retrieve the sutras. Along the way they are joined by a sea monster and an anthropomorphic pig demon, whose adventures are described in the Chinese classic Journey to the West.
This tea pet/lid rest rendered in Yixing red clay depicts the Monkey King seated, his pensive face conveying a combination of shrewdness and ennui that is characteristic of Sun Wukong. It's almost as though he's resigned himself to being a lid rest, but is plotting an elaborate escape.