Mar 30, 2009
Mar 30, 2009

Dragon and Tiger

Dragon and Tiger


c. 1546–56

Part of a set. See all set records

Sesson Shūkei 雪村周継

(Japanese, c. 1492–c. 1577)

Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on paper

Painting: 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.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1959.136


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 Ijing (Book of Changes).

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