Jade table screens of this almost flawless quality and large size are very rare. The process in the selection of the most suited material in order to provide a wider canvas for the conceived design, and the need to limit the number of visible natural flaws in the stone, would have proved challenging to the lapidary. The table screen as an object became a popular decorative device for the Qing palaces and scholar's desks during the 18th century. They were either rendered into a circular or rectangular shape. Instead of the vertical format, such as the white jade table screen carved with a similar boys theme, formerly from the Lady June Horlick Collection and offered at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 June 2011, lot 3602, the present screens are arranged in a horizontal format. A comparable example of this handscroll form is a screen depicting a scholar reading by candle light, in the Qing Court Collection, dated to the Qianlong period, and illustrated in Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, p. 56, no. 45 (fig. 1). A white jade screen is in situ, and displayed in a treasure cabinet, in the Shufangzhai, 'The Lodge of Fresh Fragrance' (fig. 2).
Invariably the inspirations for designs on table screens were either from existing Court paintings or popular woodblock prints. In this instance, the scene depicting boys at play would have probably been influenced by contemporaneous famille rose ceramics that were produced at the Imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, as exemplified a famille rose Qianlong vase depicting boys performing a dragon dance, illustrated in Porcelain with Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 138, no. 121 (fig. 3). The second screen was probably derived from a woodblock print such as those illustrating a series of agricultural activities (fig. 4),that were first published in the Kangxi period dated to 1696.