The present screen appears to depict the Han dynasty legend of “Empress Xu Serves Food." This story of Empress Xu displaying her filial devotion by personally serving food to the mother of the Emperor was popular in the Qing dynasty; another depiction can be seen on a hanging scroll by an anonymous court artist in the early Qianlong period, which would be hung in the Palace of Concentrated Purity during the New Year Festival. See Wen-chien Cheng, “Idealized Portraits of Women for the Qing Imperial Court," Orientations, May 2014, pp. 86-87, fig.1a. This court painting is accompanied by a poem by the Qianlong Emperor, commending the Han dynasty Empress and exhorting his empress and concubines to follow her example, see ibid., fig. 1b.
The present screen is painted with a pair of large cranes on the reverse, which represent the wish for longevity, and the harmony associated with filial conduct.