The studio name Qingbi Zhai, 'Bright Green Studio', identifies the present hanging scroll to the work of the famous female members of the Gu family based in Shanghai whose fine embroidery work became legendary. One of their most renowned female members was Han Ximeng who spent several years embroidering reproductions of eight well-known paintings of the Song and Yuan periods. Han Ximeng's work was given the supreme accolade of laudatory inscriptions by Dong Qichang, one of the most famous artist-calligrapher of the late Ming dynasty. Han Ximeng's daughter Gu Lanyu followed her mother's work and opened a commerical studio, reviving Song dynasty embroidery techniques and also refined new techniques of subtle shading and the use of exceptionally fine threads.
The inscription written in ink on the present scroll may be translated as:
Balanced and righteous,
a staunch loyalty that prevails throughout the day and night.
Undoubtedly your unwaiving bravery,
and heroic deeds will prevail throug history.
The same inscription is found an a later Gu-style embroidery of a similar scene of Guandi, dated to the Qianlong period, in the Qing Court collection, and illustrated in Embroidered Pictures, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2005, p. 117, no. 63. The cult of Guandi, the deified military hero Guanyu of the Three Kingdoms period, was actively supported by the Ming Court and his image can be found in a number of Ming paintings. Images of Guandi are often accompanied either by Guan Ping, his adopted son, or Zhou Cang, his loyal general as depicted on the present embroidery.