This fan painting is signed "Hsia Sen" on the earthen bank just below and to the right of the roots of the large tree extending from the left margin of the picture. Born the son of the famous academy painter, Hsia Kuei (early 13th century), Hsia Sen is generally seen as continuing his father’s innovative style.
The compositional emphasis of one side of the picture over the other creates pictorial tension and interest. The "side contending" (pien-chiao) compositions of Ma Yuan (late 12th -early 13th century) and Hsia Kuei came to characterize Southern Sung academy painting and the device was practiced by a wide variety of contemporary artists.
This intimate, focused, view of nature, clearly rendered motifs, direct low-level point-of-view, and evocation of a coherent space are all characteristics of the painting circle of Hsia Kuei. Although Hsia Sen did not hold court rank like his father, he was successful painting for a non-court audience in the great urban center of Hangchou, the largest and most sophisticated city in the world at that time.