Zhao Mengfu, the painter of this picture and the one below of a sheep and goat, was a descendant of the Song imperial family.  For ten years after the fall of Hangzhou he kept to himself and his circle of talented friends interested in poetry, painting, and calligraphy, but in 1286 he accepted an invitation to to serve the Yuan court.  He quickly gained favor with Khubilai (as a regular official, not a court painter) which enabled him to speak up for Confucian values at court.  In the North, he saw paintings not seen by southerners in a century and a half, and did much to revive Tang styles in his painting.  Besides paintings of animals, Zhao did landscapes, bamboo, old trees, and religious subjects.