Zhang Shijian (1926-2009) was born in Lizhang Village, Zhejiang Province. His uncle was Zhang Zhenduo, a famous Chinese ink painter and art educator (1908-1989); his cousin Zhang Shuqi (1900-1957) was a master of flower and bird painting. As a child, Zhang often stood next to them painting, rubbing ink and paper for them until they finished painting. After graduating from the East China Branch of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1951, he was assigned to the Science Popularization Division of the Ministry of Culture of the East China Military and Political Committee. From 1953 to 1979, he worked in the Beijing Slide Company. After 1979, he taught at the Central Academy of Art and Design (now Tsinghua University Academy of Fine Arts).