Previously I wrote in One Corner of a Cube about an Asian sage, name unremembered, who said that if you’re painting a cube, you need only get one corner right. In this follow-up we identify the sage and include lots of pointers and two samples of the “One Corner” school, one by its founder.

Egrets on a Snowy Bank, by Ma Yuan

Several kind people including Austin Gilbert and Rick Jelliffe wrote in to identify the artist in question and provide pointers. Ma Yuan lived from about 1190 to about 1224, and actually became known as “one-corner Ma.” He lived up to his name by restricting most of the paint to a small portion of his canvases, often in the corner.

Above is his Egrets on a Snowy Bank, from Taiwan’s National Palace Museum; other material and illustrations may be found at the University at Alabany (State University of New York), Cornell (search forward for “Yuan”), artnet’s Resource Library, and China Guide (mostly a shopping site).

Below a 1984 photograph, whence the title of this essay.

Black cat on sunlit bed

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December 04, 2003
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