The artist created a transition from the right-hand section of the scroll to the left by transforming the waterway into a wintry sky over a shallow foreground. To the left of the waterway, a group of houses surrounded by leafless trees introduces a series of environments. The center of the scroll shows a bridge and a watercourse crossing a plain, and a grove of trees with bare branches sweeping against the sky. The end of the scroll at the left concentrates on a group of large trees that reach into the sky, balancing the first scene at the far right.
Painting texts of the late Ming and early Qing (1644–1911) dynasties indicate that Chen Lian mimicked the work of the fourteenth-century painter Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322). Much like Zhao and unlike many of his contemporaries, Chen preferred to create a landscape scene that captured the qualities of natural appearances.
Text by Anne Burkus-Chasson, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008