The term Dali stone refers today to all calcitic or dolomitic marbles, but traditionally referred to white marbles with black veining evolking of ink painting. This stone comes from the Diancang mountain range west of Dali in Yunnan province. The luhua or green-decorated stone is considered the most rare.
Large standing screens were placed inside the entrance of rooms to dispell draughts and to ward off negative cosmic energies. They were also placed behind the seats of important people, to indicate high status.
For a discussion of the uses and placement of floor screens, refer Sarah Handler, "The Chinese Screen: Movable Walls to Divide, Enhance, and Beautify," Journal of the Classical Chinese Furniture Society, Summer 1993, pp. 4-31, and Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture, Berkeley, 2001, ch. 16, pp. 268-291.
For further information about Dali stone and its use in Chinese furniture, see Curtis Evarts, "Ornamental Stone Panels and Chinese Furniture," Journal of the Classical Chinese Furniture Society, Spring 1994, pp. 4-26.