Li Yin (Chinese: 李因; 1610? – 1685), also known by her courtesy name Jinsheng (今生) and her art names Shi'an (是庵) and Kanshan Nüshi, was a Chinese painter, calligrapher and poet during the Ming and Qing dynasties, noted for her flowers and birds. Her work was sought after in her lifetime, resulting in as many as forty individuals faking her works.
Li Yin was born in Kuaiji (Shaoxing), Zhejiang, during the late Ming dynasty. Various sources give her year of birth as 1610, 1611, or 1616. Her family background is not known but according to a contemporary biographical sketch her parents made her study poetry and painting from an early age. Their financial circumstances were poor enough that she was said to have stored up liver mosses as paper and persimmon sticks to write with. By the time she was fifteen she had a reputation for both painting and poetry, and the scholar-official Ge Zhengqitook her as his concubine. She travelled to Beijing with her husband where they painted together as a hobby.
In 1643, Ge and Li left Beijing and travelled among the rivers and lakes to Nanjing, the southern capital of the Ming dynasty. After the fall of the Ming, the Manchu Qing dynasty invaded China and Ge committed suicide in 1645 when Nanjing fell. Li Yin lived alone at the Laughing Bamboo Studio in Haichang and supported herself through her painting.
Li Yin is noted for her paintings of flowers and birds, typically in ink monochrome with fluid brushstrokes. Her reputation was such that her paintings were considered an essential souvenir from Haichang and it is estimated there were forty imitators turning out fakes in the area. She painted with a flowing ink style reminiscent of Chen Chun (1483-1544), and was considered one of the finest women painters by critic Qin Zuyong.
Over the course of her travels, Li Yin wrote 260 long and short poems that were collected in two editions.
- Flowers of the Four Seasons, 1649. Ink on Satin.
- Yellow Hibiscus, date unknown, Ink on gold paper fan.
- Rock, Bird, and Pear Blossoms, 1654. In and colour on gold paper fan.
- Swallows and Peonies, 1673. Ink on satin hanging scroll.