Dragon and Tiger


c. 1546–56

Sesson Shūkei 雪村周継

(Japanese, c. 1492–c. 1577)
Each: 157.3 x 339 cm (61 15/16 x 133 7/16 in.); Framed: 172.3 x 354 cm (67 13/16 x 139 3/8 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

This pair of screens is considered the masterpiece of Sesson's body of work, and may have been created for the lord of Odawara in eastern Japan.


A tiger sits in a bamboo grove whipped with fierce wind, while a dragon claws through clouds above rough waves. Tiger and dragon are Chinese cosmological symbols of the balancing forces in the world, yin (the feminine aspect) and yang (the masculine aspect). The tiger's roar is also said to generate wind, and the dragon clouds. The screens may have originally been meant to express the fluctuating nature of the world as envisioned in the practice of military divination, or forecasting, based on the Yijing (Book of Changes).
Dragon and Tiger

Dragon and Tiger

c. 1546–56

Sesson Shūkei

(Japanese, c. 1492–c. 1577)
Japan, Muromachi period (1392–1573) to Momoyama period (1573–1615)

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