Liu Sung-nien was a native of Ch'ien-t'ang, Chekiang (modern Hangchow). During the Ch'un-his reign (1174-1189) of the Southern Sung Emperor Hsiao-tsung, he was a student in the Painting Academy. During the Shao-his reign period (1190-1194), he was made a Painter-in-Attendance at the court. Skilled at figure painting and landscapes, Liu studied under Chang Tun-li. His skill was such that he surpassed his master in fame. On an autumn day, a lamb grazes unhurriedly. Two shephered boys sit on a mat under a tree. One clutches a bamboo basket. They are playing with a noisy cricket. The painter has depicted the straight bodies, open mouths, and wide eyes of the children, capturing the liveliness of their personalities.