The present dish with its extraordinary thinness and exquisite polishing is representative of the fine Mughal jades highly admired by the Qianlong Emperor. It is recorded that the Qianlong Emperor was presented with the first Mughal jade bowl as a tribute from Central Asia in 1756, and was so enthralled by its enticing beauty that he ordered Chinese jade carvers to replicate its style. However the efforts of the Chinese carvers to reproduce Mughal jades ended in vain as the end results all tend to be slightly heavier, thicker and less intricately carved than the Indian prototypes.
Nonetheless the Emperor's high regard for Mughal jade persisted. Out of over 800 compositions which the Emperor wrote on jade, more than 50 were devoted to Mughal jade, which he described as 'thin as paper'. One such example is a poem written in 1770 in praise of a Hindustan white jade bowl and may be translated as:
Hindustan jade is selected from the river,
Smoothed by stream water to give its exceptional finish.
Fine workmanship makes a myriad of petals to form a steady foot;
Double flowers are exquisitely paired.
Fine jade comes from Xi Cheng* as of old,
Fair and delicate it now surpasses the jade maiden.
Forbidden to be used regardless of the tea,
A stern prohibitation edict issued long hence.
*place name near Xinjiang
This poem was also followed by a note written by the Emperor in which he mentions that the Hindustan bowl is carved with 'twelve long leaves rising to the mouth rim, flanked by a pair of handles each in the form of a flower supported on leaves. The material is glossy and smooth, worked to be thin as paper. This fine material is so exquisitely carved that it is unable to be reproduced by jade craftsmen of the Middle Kingdom'.