The artwork depicts a palace garden scene painted in the so-called laborious brush technique in which contours and drapery lines are first painted in ink and then parts of the picture are lavishly coloured in bright pigments. The scene probably captures a legend dating from the reign of Tang Emperor Minghuang (ruled 713–756), who held a festival every spring to release butterflies. He would invite the ladies to his garden and ask them to put fresh flowers in their hair. Then he released the butterflies and waited to see which of the ladies’ hairdos would attract them. The artwork is attributed to the Ming artist Qiu Ying (c. 1494–1552), however, the stylization of the garments and rendering of the faces suggest the picture was done in the late 18th or 19th century, when painters drew inspiration from scenes depicted in woodblock prints.