The Fall of Lao Shu

The Other China


The following selection of paintings by Lao Shu reflect the temper of the autumn months of 2023 — the fall.


Lao Shu 老樹 is the nom de plume of Liu Shuyong (劉樹勇, 1962-), a Beijing-based artist, writer, critic and professor in communications. His artistic voice is unique and personal, its tenor, whimsy and profundity evoke what for decades we have called The Other China — a cultural noosphere that is as undeniably local as it is universal.

We marked the first day of the Guimao Lunar New Year of the Rabbit — 22 January 2023 to 10 February 2024 — in the company of the calligrapher Liu Chan 劉蟾 (see A Protection Mantra for the Year of the Rabbit, 22 January 2023). Here we offer an artistic meditation by Lao Shu on a season during which the wanton riches of summer give way to a more desolate landscape.

For more work by Lao Shu in China Heritage, see:

Lao Shu’s work also features on the homepage of The Other China.

All translations are mine.

— Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, China Heritage
12 December 2023

Autumn Winds

Lao Shu, published on 29 October 2023

When the autumn winds gust, it’s
Hard to known what to make of things.
When will the Russo-Ukrainian War ever end?
And what of the conflict between Israel and Hamas?
Online, everyone squabbles all the time.

Lao Shu, Cold Dew, autumn, Guimao Lunar Year   


Soliloquy of a Model Worker

Lao Shu, published on 1 December 2023

Back in the day I was a model worker
They even gave me this enamel mug on Labor Day
Later on, the place went bankrupt, now
Back home work injuries are my company
My days are spent nursing a cup of tea
As I sit outside catching the sun
As I watch the autumnal leaves fall
My thoughts wander back in time
There’s no denying the feeling that
Bit by bit, the world has become colder.

Lao Shu, Guimao Lunar Year



老樹畫畫, painting by Lao Shu, 7 December 2023

A bird perches on a distant tree
As he sleeps to the sound of mountain rains
Assailed by a sweet dream in his bed
He finds himself counting his coin.

Lao Shu


Peace which passeth all understanding

老樹畫畫, painting by Lao Shu, 2 December 2023

Falling leaves like flower petals,
The autumn waters a dream.
The world is far away, and
My heart is at rest

Lao Shu, in the depths of autumn, Guimao Lunar Year


Gone with the Wind

Lao Shu, published on 16 November 2023 ​​​

Observe this vast world of ours,
Is your struggle really worth it?
In the end, the bustle and hustle
Melt away in the autumnal winds.

Lao Shu, Guimao Lunar Year


The Relentless Flow

Lao Shu, published on 1 November 2023

黃葉任飄零。 ​​​

The seasons change and time passes
In the midst of an indifferent universe.
The autumn waters flow ever onwards, despite you,
Carrying with them the yellowing leaves.


After de Chirico

Lao Shu, published on 26 October 2023

不見有人經過。 ​​​

After all the friends have drifted off,
Things feel more forlorn than ever.
Standing at the side of the road
There’s no one coming this way.