Xu's art was inspired by a wide range of sources, but essentially it was rooted in the pursuit of Realism. He is considered the first Chinese artist to have successfully integrated Chinese painting and Western academic realism.This painting shows the artist's skill in depicting small creatures. From a young age, Xu Beihong was already encouraged by his father to paint what he observed directly from nature. Magpies were regarded as harbingers of good fortune in Chinese symbolism. Xu produced many such paintings to raise funds for the anti-Japanese movement in China.