Inscription and 3 seals in right margin: painted copy of Wang Miens seals, 1) Chu-chai t'u wei, 2) Kuai-chi chia shan, and 3) Fang wai ssü ma; Inscription on right: Below the solitary peak above West lake, remains the open forest of many plum trees; the old trunks and stones stripped of melancholy snow; only the theme of flowers is associated since ancient times, signed Wang Yüan Chang; Copy of colophon by Wu Chang (an owner of the Wang Mien original) on left, signed Wu Chang, no seals; Inscription by Baiitsu in lower left: On the 23 day of the eigth month, in the autumn of the year Teimi (1847) Yamamoto Baiitsu Ryo immitated. followed by the artist's seal: Bai-itsu
The prunus branch depicted by Baiitsu makes use of the long vertical form provided by the hanging scroll format. The branch enters the visual field from the top right, and curves downward toward the bottom of the scroll. On either side of the branch are sections of calligraphic text.
This painting exemplifies one of the ways Japanese artists learned from Chinese models: it is a direct copy of a work by the Yuan dynasty artist Wang Mien. Baiitsu placed thin sheets of paper over the original and traced the contours of the branches in pale ink; then, looking at the two works side-by-side, he painted in the washes, imitating Wang’s “flying white” brush strokes. Baiitsu even copied Wang’s original inscription and seals, as well as a colophon by a later owner of the work.
The green mountains in this fan painting appear truly vertical and solid. The clouds, too, in spite of their rounded edges appear to be frozen in space. A pine tree bends over the side of the cliff, with its foliage over a traveler in white crossing a bridge below.
Mountains in Chinese culture have long been recognized as majestic, where deities, spirits and immortals could reside. The blue and green mountains in this scroll evoke Tang period (618-907 CE) painting style, as well as the famous twelfth century painter Zhao Boju. Zhao Boju was famous for his exquisite paintings making use of malachite green and azurite blue mineral pigments, and this work is signed with his alternate name Qianli Boju. The signature was probably added by someone who wanted to sell the painting for a higher price than could be fetched by an anonymous work.
Rooted into the mountainside a “greeting-guest pine” bends over the traveler, welcoming the traveler the pavilion above.