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Tiger and magpies 까치와 호랑이

by Stephanie Lee | | 0 Comments

# Contents
Tiger and magpies
까치와 호랑이
Date 1850-1900
Format Hanging scroll
Type Painting

An important subject for Koreans since ancient times, the tiger has been featured not only in foundational myths but also in many Korean parables. As an object of awe and terror as well as worship, the tiger became a popular subject for painting during the Joseon dynasty. The magpie adds a humorous element to the tiger theme. Paintings of the pair were placed on the front gates of houses on New Year’s Day to wish for good fortune and luck in the coming year. Tigers were believed to expel evil spirits, while magpies represented bearers of good news. In this painting, a yellow-eyed tiger snarls at the viewer while two magpies chatter away below a pine tree. The tiger’s forehead is spotted like a puma’s, and while the snarl is supposed to be fearsome, it also projects humor. Fine and wet brushstrokes were combined in the depiction of the tiger, birds, and pine tree.

The inscription on the upper left reads:

In the picture of a scenic mountain

a fierce tiger roars at the wind of the pines

as two magpies clatter above its head

The tiger turns its gaze to them, rolling its red tongue.

—Written by the hermit Sonam

Credit Line Gift of Namkoong Ryun
Right Asian Art Museum of Sanfrancisco
Accession Number 2000.29
Period Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)
Culture Korean
Place Associated Korea
Medium Ink and colors on paper
H. 38 7/8 in x W. 29 1/2 in, H. 98.7 cm x W. 74.9 cm (image);
H. 67 1/8 in x W. 29 1/4, H. 74.3 cm x W. 170.5 in (overall)