Liu Shi was an accomplished poet, painter, and calligrapher. She spent her early years as a courteson but later became the concubine of the well known scholar and poet Qian Qianyi (1582-1664). Together they collaborated on writing poetry and compiling an anthology. Their last years were tragic ones, as their famed library burned in 1650, which inspired them to seek solace in Buddhism. The year after Qian died, Liu Shi committed suicide after being forced with her children to abandon the family home.
Yun Shouping, who was significantly younger than Qian Qianyi and Liu Shi, was an influential painter in Jiangsu provenance, where Qian and Liu also lived.