Artist Gao Qipei (1660-1734) was born in the north of China. He was a high-powered civil servant under emperors Kangxi (1662-1722) and Yongzheng (1723-1735) of the Qing dynasty. His bureaucratic work left Gao plenty of time to devote to painting. In his twenties he was clearly searching for a style of his own. He found it by using his fingers rather than a brush, an idea that came to him in a dream. He applied paint with his fingertips and hand, and used a single nail for thin lines. At first Gao also used a brush, but he eventually abandoned this altogether as he perfected his manual skill. What makes Gao's finger-painted landscapes so remarkable is their spontaneity.