|26) Ma Yuan. Bare Willows and Distant Hills. Fan mounted as round album leaf. Southern Sung. Round fans, often painted on one side and with a verse couplet on the other (see No. 27 below) were popular in Sung. They were a perfect vehicle for the small, intimate compositions of the Southern Sung Academy painters, and this slide is a classic example. Characteristic are the hazy mountains in light wash and the gracefully drooping willow tree that balance each other in the upper left and lower right comers of the painting respectively. Ma Yuan was noted for the asymmetry of his compositions. The focus of these paintings is often off to one comer or side (rather than at the center), where a large tree often predominates and threatens to destroy the balance of the composition. In the above slide, for example (No. 25), only the couplet of poetry in the upper right comer precariously balances the weight of the willow tree and figures to the left. Ma was known in Chinese art history as "one corner Ma" for this technique.