The canvas is a programmatic work painted by Gauguin in the last few years of his life. It resembles a section of a large frieze and can be divided in two in terms of meaning. The left-hand side of the picture, which shows female figures with flowers and fruit in their hands, symbolises the Garden of Eden before the Fall. The right-hand side with the horseman, sleeping dog and pups, stands for earth where birth-death triumphs. The figure in the long robe in the middle picking fruit reminds us of temptation and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the history and fate of mankind. The word "Ruperupe" written in the lower left corner is taken from a popular song on the islands: "O, Tahiti, wonderful land" and emphasises the philosophical meaning of the work.