During the Ming and Qing dynasties when travel was highly fashionable, painters would commit to painting the natural and historic sites that they had visited or even scenes in their daily life not just as mementos but also for future revisit in the mind. Renowned for its unrivaled beauty and named after its rocks that resemble the lingzhi plant, Mount Lingyan (literally "mountain of lingzhi rocks") seen in the painting is located to the northwest of the town Mudu in Suzhou and is a much celebrated mountain and Buddhist site in the Jiangnan area. In this panorama, Huang has captured the undulating mountain ranges in great detail even down to the trail that extends from one end to the other in the scroll, the architecture that flanks the trail, and the temples and sites of historic interest sitting at the top of the mountains.
That trail is none other than the imperial route used by the emperors Kangxi (1662 - 1722) and Qianlong (1736 - 1795) of the Qing when they visited the area. Somewhere along it, the two pavilions renamed by Qianlong as "Pavilion of Pine" and "Pavilion of Sunrise" respectively can be distinctly seen. So are the Lingyan Pagoda, the temple cluster and the imperial sojourn palace that have been preserved to this day. As much as a memento of days gone by in the company of friends, the painting serves as a pictorial guide map to the viewer for relishing in the landscape captured with the artist's impression.