It is rare to find a complete set of inkcakes together with their original boxes. The present example belongs to a group of Imperial inkcakes with special references to scholarly topics and traditions that would have particularly appealed to the erudite tastes of the Qianlong Emperor. Compare with a closely related set in the Beijing Palace Museum, where the inkcakes are fitted into a similar brocade-lined box decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay, illustrated in Gongting Wenhua Zhan, Tokyo, 1990, p. 36. The present box probably belonged to the same series as the Palace Museum inkcake set as the latter's cover is similarly inlaid with the title, Yuzhi kuwenge shimo, 'Made by Imperial Command, Ink of the Four Inscriptions from the Treasury'. These Palace Museum inkcakes are moulded in shapes of early jades; and together with their inscriptions these were produced in reference to Qianlong's interest in the archaic.
This unique form of presentation is typical of Imperial packaging, and is comparable to another ink box in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Qing Legacies: The Sumptuous Art of Imperial Packaging, The Macau Museum of Art, 2000, p. 99, no. 24, bearing the name, Da Fugui Yi Shou Kao, 'Great Wealth and Long Life'. The Palace Museum box is catalogued to have been equipped with a silk floss pad lining for protection of their inksticks; this feature is shared in the present cover.