During Emperor Xuanzong’s rule during the Tang Dynasty, General Li Sixun and his son Li Zhaodao were both skilled at Chinese landscape painting. People at the time called them Senior General Li and Junior General Li.
Li Sixun’s landscapes were superior, and he had a unique style. His paintings of mountains and rivers were unparalleled and exquisite in both composition and brush strokes. He also excelled at painting birds, animals, and vegetation. His son Li Zhaodao was an accomplished painter, but his works were less detailed and not quite as artistic. Although his works were excellent, he could neither match his father in style nor in the vigor of his strokes.
Emperor Xuanzong summoned Li Sixun and asked him to paint the walls and screen walls of Datong Palace. The next morning after Li Sixun finished his work, Emperor Xuanzong told him: “Last night, I heard the water running from the rivers in the mountains you painted on the screen walls. You are indeed the first and only divine painting expert of this nation.”
While his son’s artwork is known to be superb, Li Sixun’s Chinese painting is said to be divine.