With tail feathers spread in full array, a peacock strolls in a garden resplendent with roses, peonies, magnolias, peach blossoms, and bamboo set among fantastic blue-green taihu rocks. While these specific flowers were standard auspicious motifs during both the Ming and Qing dynasties, the peacock reflects a new layer of meaning occasioned by the Manchu conquest in 1644. The new rulers, coming from their homeland to the north of China proper, presented themselves as protectors of Chinese culture in the face of social and political chaos. They appropriated the image of Mahamayuri, the "Peacock Mother of the Buddha" and "Protectress of the North" as one of their political emblems. This painting featuring a dignified and noble bird among auspicious plants would have made an appropriate gift for a high Manchu official. It would have served a purely decorative purpose within the public spaces of an upperclass household.The painting is a good example of the academy school. The artistic merit of this work is more dependent on intimate naturalism than any kind of conventional stylization.