Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Image: 170 x 90.4 cm (66 15/16 x 35 9/16 in.); Overall: 262.5 x 115.1 cm (103 3/8 x 45 5/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1997.148
A great number of tigers used to have live in the Korean peninsula. An old Chinese proverb says: “Korean people hunt tigers half of the year, and tigers hunt people other half of the year.”
In deep mountains where old pine trees grow, a tigress, her two cubs, and a leopard welcome the rising sun. This is not merely a playful scene of felines, but rather a well calculated image with auspicious symbols of longevity (pine trees), prosperity (tigress with her cubs), and good fortune (leopard). Traditionally on New Year’s Eve, the image of a fearsome-looking tiger along with that of a dragon was pasted on entrance doors to ward off evil spirits. However, paired with cubs and magpies, tigers came to be portrayed in a more playful and humorous manner fitting for festive occasions. The crimson rising sun suggests that this scroll may have been created to celebrate the new year.
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