Inscription: Against the wind. Painted while traveling in Longzhou in the summer of the Bingzi year (1936), Beihong. For my beloved wife, Jingwen, to keep.
Seal: “Descended from the King of the Eastern Sea” (Rectangular seal with incised characters)
The work was painted on 23 July 1936 (the sixth day of the sixth lunar month), when Xu Beihong was 42. When Xu painted this work, he was living in Guangxi and the June 1 Movement demanding resistance to Japanese invasion had just launched in Guangxi and Guangdong. This movement rocked the nation, and as war seemed fast approaching, many people fled, but Xu Beihong decided to stay and support the resistance.
The six sparrows in the painting fly against the wind, which shows that Xu Beihong did not fear adversity. He simply wanted to encourage the patriotic spirit.
In 1961, Mao Zedong praised this work of Xu Beihong’s, saying it was “very thoughtful.”