In this painting, Wu gives a traditional literati subject-matter a new visual treatment through his bold 'jinshi' style, which refers to ancient inscription scripting on bronze vessels and stone steles. Jinshi enthusiasts often combined epigraphy in their calligrapy, seal carving, and painting. Orchids and rocks were traditionally representations of a scholar’s moral rectitude, inner strength and personal cultivation. Like his scholarly predecessors, Wu did not pursue formal likeness. Instead he attempted to convey the spirit or essence of the orchids and rocks through his expressive lines and complex layering of strokes and washes.