Ding first studied oil painting before he turned to traditional Chinese painting. His practice of the latter genre showed the influence of Bada Shanren (1626 - 1705) and Shi Tao (1642 - 1707). Given his training background, he was able to blend Chinese and Western techniques seamlessly to come into his own. Characters from Chinese legends and folklore are one of Ding's favourite themes in his paintings. His tribute to Bada Shanren is obvious in this work. A unique characterisation of the Eight Immortals is vividly rendered with rigorous, crisp brushstrokes, and exudes an exaggerated sense of humour. Lü Dongbin, seen here at the bottom left corner, is haughtily keeping a distance from the rest of the Eight. With his face turned towards heaven and his tongue out in spite, he is a cultivated and intelligent figure, who wants to express his scorn for the vulgar world.