In 1934, Xu Beihong created Instructions on Inkstone and dedicated the painting to Long Yusheng (1902-1966). Long was an influential scholar and educator of classical Chinese poetry, who achieved acclaim for his work on the poetic forms ci and qu. He taught at numerous national institutions and authored several anthologies of classical poetry of the Tang, Song and Qing dynasties.
Commissioned by Long Yusheng, this painting depicts the great modern ci scholar Zhu Zumou (1857-1931) passing a treasured inkstone to Long. With his passing of the inkstone, Zhu was also entrusting his disciple with the unfinished manuscripts that would become one of the most comprehensive anthologies of ci. This faith helped inspire Long to become an accomplished scholar of ci and other forms of Chinese poetry in his own right.