Inscription: Around the Double Ninth Festival in the Bingzi year (1936), I was on the Li River and I saw a strong boatman. It was a rare encounter. He was truly Heracles! I first made an initial draft, but I had to focus my energies in completing it, Beihong.
Seal: “Sealed by Beihong” (Square seal with incised characters) and “Traces of the past” (Round seal with relief characters)
In the first half of September 1936, Xu Beihong moved to Guilin with the Guangxi provincial government and lived in the Guangxi Library. He spent his days making works of painting and calligraphy and living a relatively calm life.
The inscription mentions Heracles, a figure from ancient Greek myth. Before the Double Ninth Festival, Xu Beihong traveled the Li River. On the riverbank, he saw a strong boatman. He was struck by the figure, so he used the man as a model in the work. This work is also an outstanding example of the modeling of nude figures.