Ch’iu Ying (style name Shih-fu, sobriquet Shih-chou) was a native of T’ai-ts’ang, Kiangsu province. He was skilled in painting landscapes and figures and also excelled in bird-and-flower painting.
This painting was originally attributed to Ch’iu Ying. During the Ming and Ch’ing dynasties, there were three major examinations for civil service. The first examination took place on the prefectural level, and successful candidates became licentiates and attained a Bachelor’s degree (hsiu-ts’ai). The Provincial Examination was the next level, and those who were successful at the examinations were called "Provincial Graduates" (chu-jen). The number one candidate was called Provincial Graduate with the Highest Honors (chieh-yuan). The highest examination was that on the Metropolitan level. All provincial graduates were allowed to sit for the Metropolitan Examination. Those who were succesful were called "Nominees for Office" (kung-shih), and the top candidate was called "Principal Graduate" (hui-yuan). Nominees for Office were appointed after an interview with the emperor and successful completion of the Palace Examination (tien-shih). The top candidate of the Palace Examination was celled "Principle Graduate of the Palace Examinations" (chuang-yuan); the second-place candidate was called the "Second Graduate" (pang-yen); the third-place candidate was called "Third Graduate" (t’an-hua). In this handscroll, a sea of people crowd together to find out the results of the examinations. Those who were successful excitedly mount horses and leave triumphantly. The unsuccessful candidates, however, look extremely disappointed, lean on friends, and dejectedly turn homeward.