Ch'en Chung-jen, the younger brother if the Yuan dynasty master Ch'en Lin, was skilled in depicting landscapes, figures, birds and flowers. When he served as the head of the An-ting School of Hu-chou in Fukien Province, he had the opportunity to discuss painting techniques with the superb painter-calligrapher Chao Meng-fu, and was much appreciated by him.
Ch'en used the character "sheep" as a generally accepted pun for "auspiciousness" or "good fortune," and thus the theme of the work is symbolically propitious. The scene portrays a background of mountains, with pine, bamboo and plum trees (the "three friends in winter," another auspicious sign) nestled among the hills. Three children are adorned with beautiful garments and ornaments. Through his utilization of refined and studied brushwork, and the attention to details, the artist has rendered this depiction quite similar to other representations of "children at play" and "three sheep heralding vernal season." In the lower left of the painting, the artist has inscribed his name and placed a seal bearing the characters "Chung-jen" on it.