Four boys are playing in the courtyard. Two of them are at odds for a toy. The third boy is trying to stop the conflict. The fourth boy stands aside playing with his toys.
The facial expressions on each boy are vividly drawn showing the carefree and playful nature of children at play. The creases of the clothes are distinct and the colours of the garments are intricate and elaborate. The smooth silk clothes depict that the boys come from a rich family.
The small wooden stool with a rattan-weave matt on top and four meticulously carved cleft feet is fine furniture for a rich family.
The taihu stone (太湖石) with luxuriant growth of bamboo behind further indicates the wealth of the family. Taihu stone is native to Lake Tai. These stones are very popular in gardens.
The bamboo fence in the foreground not only serves as decoration for the painting, but adds a sense of security for the children playing in the courtyard.
The painting is unsigned, undated and there is no inscription. It is believed that the painting was a typical Southern Song’s work similar to those of Su Hanchen (蘇漢臣)(1094-1172), a Southern Song painter famous for figure painting.
http://www.npm.gov.tw/exh100/harmony/cht_select.html (Su Hanchen- Children Playing in an Autumn Garden & Children at Play on a Winter Day)