Three main figures (two men and the camel they are riding) are brought to the foreground because of the contrast between their light colors against the stark green hill. The hill dominates the background leaving only a little bit of blue sky visible in the top corners. Underneath the main figures a secondary white dog and rabbit are also prominent.
Two men, equally overdressed, ride a self-important camel. Underneath them their hunting dog attacks a rabbit. Behind them is a tree-covered hill in the background. Given the specificity of the men’s faces, this may be a double portrait, but their identity has yet to be ascertained.
The painting is nearly entirely dominated by mountains, yet nestled among them lie two small buildings. Around these structures and near the placement of the viewer are dark plum trees with spiky branches and pink and white blossoms.
The village of Tsukigase is tucked into a deep valley northeast of Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. There, plum trees had long been cultivated for dyes and medicinal use. After the scholar Saitô Setsudô (1797–1865) published a collection of poems on Tsukigase in the mid-nineteenth century, however, springtime excursions to the village became a favorite pastime for Japanese scholars and literati painters. They admired the plum blossom for its understated beauty, in contrast to the more exuberant cherry.