It is difficult to control the firing of underglaze copper red, particularly in combination with underglaze cobalt blue. Here, both are expertly handled, the line of the blue acting as a sharp counterpoint to the varying concentrations of copper red. It is extremely rare to find this combination of underglaze red setting combined with the main subject outlined in sharply defined blue lines. It is also extremely effective with the blue lines contrasting with the exquisitely well controlled washes of pale red and grey of the underglazed copper oxide.
The decoration depicts two of the Four Noble Occupations (fisherman, woodcutter, scholar and farmer). In this case, however, the fisherman is depicted as a scholar, his hair tied in the typical cloth cap of the scholar-official when relaxing. This makes reference to a third member of the four, confirming the identification of the subject.