In the foreground, there are several motifs, which he had no doubt observed, as they recur throughout the paintings of this period. There are two women seated in the centre of the picture, a tree cutting across the canvas, and a red dog. The sky has disappeared; a succession of coloured planes – green, yellow, red – forms the structure of the composition.
In the imaginary scene in the background, there are several women worshipping a statue. Gauguin has enlarged a small Maori statue to the size of a great Buddha, and has invented a sacred rite. All these elements create an enchanted world, full of both harmony and melancholy, where man lives under the protection of the gods, in a luxuriant natural environment, in an archaic, idealised Polynesia.