The present boulder, with its powerful three-dimensional rendering of a luohan seated beside a mythical beast amongst a grotto, served not only as a symbolic religious imagery, but also excelled as a work of art in its own right.
A number of jade mountains or boulder with similar subjects is known in worldwide collections, including the British Museum (inv. no. 1930.12-17.15) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Jessica Rawson noted that inspiration of the subject matter may have originated from woodblock prints from the eighteenth-century publication Guyu Tu Pu ('Collection of Ancient Jade Drawing').
Compare a similar example illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1995, pp. 409-410, cat. no. 29:19. The bold vertical edges of the rock face and the gnarled tree branch overhanging above the luohan share remarkable similarities to the current piece. A slightly taller boulder also attributed to the 18th-19th century, formerly in the collection of the T.B. Walker Foundation, was sold in these rooms, 20th October 1988, lot 191.