After graduating from Jiangsu Chinese Painting Institute during the late 1970s, Liu Dan moved to the United States in 1981 and lived there and in the United Kingdom through 2004. He painted this painting shortly after he returned to China in 2005. Living abroad for more than twenty years, Liu developed a deep knowledge of contemporary trends in Western art. However, he chooses to work both within and beyond the Chinese ink tradition, consistently producing works that are among the most compelling contemporary landscape paintings in this traditional medium. In his treatment of stone and landscapes, the works of Northern Song (960-1127) masters are Liu's most evident sources of inspiration.
While many of his works of rocks are larger-than-life representations, the present lot is a life-size reproduction of the rock, painstakingly matching every nook and crag to the fullest detail. Liu has often referred to rocks as the 'stem cells of landscape': from small basic units, both in painting and in the natural world.