Qi Baishi was a Chinese painter, noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his works. Born to a peasant family from Xiangtan, Hunan, Qi taught himself to paint, sparked by the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden. After he turned 40, he traveled, visiting various scenic spots in China. After 1917 he settled in Beijing. Some of Qi's major influences include the early Qing dynasty painter Bada Shanren (八大山人) and the Ming dynasty artist Xu Wei (徐渭).
The subjects of his paintings include almost everything, commonly animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables, and so on. He theorized that "paintings must be something between likeness and unlikeness, much like today's vulgarians, but not like to cheat popular people". In his later years, many of his works depict mice, shrimp or birds. He was also good at seal carving and called himself "the rich man of three hundred stone seals" (三百石印富翁). In 1953, he was elected president of the China Artists Association (中國美術家協會).