Beginning in the Kangxi period Songhua stone became one of the preferred stones, along with duan and she, for use in the carving of inkstones. Songhua stone was esteemed for not only its color, but especially for its effectiveness and ease in the grinding of the ink. The stone came from Jilin, a fact incorporated into a poem by the Qianlong Emperor, in which he mentions that "Songhua yu" (Songhua 'jade') came from the convergence of the Songhua and Heilong rivers in Jilin, and that it could be used for inkstones. In the article 'Songhua shi yan' (Songhua inkstone), Wenwu, 1980:1, pp. 86-7, Zhou Nanquan notes that in the 39th year of Qianlong's reign (1774) official records mention a total of 120 pieces of Songhua stone. Further records from the same year note that on three occasions thirty-eight pieces of raw material from Jilin province were sent to the palace. Of these, five pieces were used to carve eight inkstones and their boxes, as it was customary during the Qianlong period for the boxes of Songhua inkstones to be carved from the same stone, often utilizing the different strata of color found in the stone to great effect. During this period the Emperor even commissioned court painters to create the designs for the covers, creating an artistic link between certain types of paintings and the motifs found on the covers of some inkstone boxes.
A Songhua inkstone with similar well and cover with very similar design were included in the Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition, Selected Treasures of Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 1990-91, no. 238. Another of related shape and design, of Yongzheng date, is illustrated in Special Exhibition of Sunghua Inkstone, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1993, no. 47. See, also, the inkstone of rectangular shape with pine and cranes on the cover, dated to the Qianlong period, illustrated ibid., no. 57.