In this painting, two monks are seated on a meditation platform. The elder is concentrating on mending a cassock while the other sits cross-legged next to him and observes. To the side behind them are two figures grinding and preparing tea. The expressions of the figures here are fresh and natural, while the brushstrokes defining the drapery lines are fluent yet powerful. Nonetheless, the signature in the lower left corner (“Respectfully painted by the Painter-in-Attendance and Gold Belt Recipient of the Painting Academy , Liu Sung-nien”) and the seal (“Seal of Liu Sung-nien”) appear dubious.
Liu Sung-nien was a native of Ch'ien-t'ang , Chekiang , who entered the painting academy during the Ch'un-hsi era (1174-1189) of Emperor Hsiao-tsung. In the Shao-his era (1190-1194), he was promoted to Painter-in-Attendance. The works most representative of his style that survive today are three lohan paintings in the National Palace Museum. The style of this painting, in comparison, appears somewhat different from them. It is probably a work from the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) or later with an interpolated signature of Liu Sung-nien.