- Museum number
Painting, hanging scroll. Crouching tiger. Ink and colour on silk. Signed and sealed. With lacquered paulownia storage box.
- Production date
- 1775 (6th month)
Height: 128.70 millimetres
Width: 14.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Smith et al 1990
From between the narrow confines of this tall, slender hanging scroll a crouching tiger stares with large, luminous green eyes. His front paws are brought stiffly together, concentrating all the power of his body into the hunched shoulders above the head, and the end of the tail seems about to flick with a life of its own. The off-centre placing of the eyes and slight tilt to the head give the tiger a quizzical, almost mocking air.
To capture the instant - the crouching of a tiger, or geese about to land on a stretch of open water - was one of the goals of Okyo's realism. Another was to suggest the solid underlying structure of things, and this convincing portrait of a tiger is all the more remarkable for the fact that Okyo would never have seen a live beast to sketch at first hand.
Each individual hair of the fur has been painstakingly drawn, but it is above all the skilful handling of the background washes which really conveys the softness of the coat, the distribution of the markings being used to suggest the musculature underneath. Tigers had been painted many times in East Asian art, but rarely in such an arresting composition, which triumphantly overcomes the limitations of its format.
Price, Joe D., "Tiger Paintings by Okyo and Oyo", in 'Essays on Japanese Art Presented to Jack Hillier', London, 1982, pp. 135-42.
Tajima, Shiichi (ed.), 'Masterpieces Selected from the Maruyama School', 2 vols, 1909, pl. 29.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
Osaka, Municipal Museum of Art; Maruyama Okyo; 13 Sept-26 Oct 2003
Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art; Maruyama Okyo; 3 Nov 2003-14 Dec 2004
Edo-Tokyo Museum; Maruyama Okyo; 3 Feb-21 Mar 2004
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.Add.542 (Japanese Painting Additional Number)