Coming from a humble background, Qi Baishi's farm-life origins gave rise to superstition and folklore. With a strong belief in providence, he consulted a fortune teller who infamously told him that he would face travesty and great troubles in his seventy-fifth year. The fortune teller advised him that, to avoid any misfortune, he should 'skip two years', and instead of turning seventy-five in dingchou year (1937), he gave himself two more birthdays and became seventy-seven.
This anecdote gives rise to our understanding of Qi's psyche and state of mind at the time. Thus it is not surprising that it is extremely rare to find his inscriptions bearing the mention of his age between seventy-five and seventy-eight. Furthermore, many of his seals were carved with negative connotations to his seventies. All of his seals are void of his seventy-sixth year, indicative of his care not to highlight his age at the time.
In this rare painting Qi inscribed that he created it in his seventy-sixth year, most probably due to an oversight, but he most likely was unwilling to throw it out, seeing as it was a good piece of work.