In 1954, Li Keran began his reform of Chinese painting by exploring nature as the source of artistic creation. That year, over a three month period, he travelled, observing and sketching from nature along the way. Li conducted a second sketching journey in 1956, lasting over eight months, during which time he painted The Hundred Step Ladder at Wushan (Fig. 1), widely considered as one of Li's masterpieces, very similar to this present piece.
The present work portrays a precipitous mountain trail from a bird's eye view, emphasizing the daunting, perilous beauty of the stairway and the challenges of the climb. By placing the pavilion, two figures and the steps winding down the mountain at the bottom-left corner of the paintings, Li draws the viewers to appreciate the entirety of the piece while evoking a sense of boundlessness and infinity.