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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Li Huasheng 李華生, Chinese (1944 - 2018)
Sketch on a Summer Day
Work Type
wall scroll, painting
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Vertical wall scroll; ink and color on paper, with artist’s signature and seal
painting proper: 68.2 x 43.9 cm (26 7/8 x 17 5/16 in.)
Framed: 101.6 x 72.39 x 5.08 cm (40 x 28 1/2 x 2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Lower left, black ink: Sketched by Huasheng in the summer of the xinyou year [1981] (Chinese brush-written characters followed by a red seal reading "Huasheng")
  • inscription: brush-written in lower left of painting, translates as follows: "Sketched by Huasheng in the summer of the xinyou year [1981]"
  • seal: artist's seal: Square red intaglio seal, following signature: "Huasheng"


Recorded Ownership History
Li Huasheng, Sichuan (1981-1982), sold; to Chu-tsing Li, Lawrence, Kansas (1980s-2012), gift; to his son B U.K. Li, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (2012-2013), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2013.

1. Dr. Chu-tsing Li (1920-2014)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Chu-tsing Li Collection, Gift of B U.K. Li in honor of Chu-tsing Li and in memory of Yao-wen Kwang Li and Teri Ho Li
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Wet black ink layered over dry, staccato brushstrokes and splattered dots of black and brown form a large mountain mass at this composition’s center. A rickety staircase that climbs from the shore to the top of the mountain bisects the massive form and leads to a cluster of houses and whimsical trees. The thin gray ink washes that make up the sky and distant mountains impart a sense of gloom and yet are tempered by the bright yellow sun hovering above. The use of splashed ink in painting has a long tradition in China; many artists, both ancient and modern, have created a personal style through its unpredictability and spontaneity.
Li Huasheng’s career has been dogged by politics: during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) he was forced to paint in secret, and then, during the Spiritual Pollution campaign in 1983, when the government criticized artists for their “decadence and impurity,” he was targeted as an enemy of the state.

Publication History

  • Robert D. Mowry and Claudia Brown, A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), cat. 48

Exhibition History

  • A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/2007 - 01/27/2008; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 06/28/2008 - 09/14/2008; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 10/11/2008 - 01/04/2009; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 02/11/2009 - 05/24/2009

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at