In 1978, Yang Lizhou and Wang Yingchun, husband and wife, were admitted to the China Central Academy of Fine Arts to study figure painting in the department of Chinese painting. In 1980, the couple created Yellow River Triptych No.1 as their graduation project and were awarded the Ye Qianyu Scholarship. The artists depicted a small boat sailing against the stream on the Yellow River. The boatmen strove to move the boat, showing their courage and their determination to head forward. The diagonal composition allows the boat to face the roaring waters directly, creating a powerful dynamism. The representation of the water is particularly exceptional—the river seems to convey strong emotions, as if it were about to simply engulf the boat at any minute.