Tiger Family

호랑이 가족도 (虎家圖)

late 1800s
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.)
Location: 236 Korean
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Did You Know?

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, a tigress, two cubs, and a leopard welcome the early morning sun. This is not merely a playful scene but a well calculated image with symbols of longevity (pine trees), prosperity (tigress and cubs), and good fortune (leopard). Traditionally, on New Year’s Eve, the image of a fearsome-looking tiger was pasted on entrance doors to ward off evil spirits. Conventional Korean tiger paintings often include frolicking magpies, but here, the crimson sun is placed behind a majestic pine. Through the sunrise and the details of the felines’ skin shines the artist’s keen interest in creating a realistic atmosphere.
Tiger Family

Tiger Family

late 1800s

Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)

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