To the right is a lordly mandarin's country seat. It is two storeys high to show the rank and wealth of the possessor; in the foreground is a pavilion, in the background an orange-tree, and to the right of the pavilion a peach-tree in full bearing. The estate is enclosed by an elegant wooden fence. At one end of the bridge is the famous willow-tree, and at the other the gardener's cottage, one storey high, and so humble that the grounds are wholly uncultivated, the only green thing being a small fir-tree at the back. At the top of the pattern (left-hand side) is an island, with a cottage; the grounds are highly cultivated, and much has been reclaimed from the water. The two birds are turtle-doves. The three figures on the bridge are the mandarin's daughter with a distaff nearest the cottage, the lovers with a boat in the middle, and nearest the willow-tree the mandarin with a whip.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894