Tiger and Cub

Tani Bunchō, Japanese, 1763 - 1840

Made in Japan, Asia

Edo Period (1615-1868)


Ink on paper; mounted as a hanging scroll

55 3/8 × 26 1/2 inches (140.7 × 67.3 cm) Mount: 7 feet 7 inches × 32 3/8 inches (231.1 × 82.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Henry B. Keep Fund, 1986

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Tani Bunchō was the leading painter of the literati style in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) and once painted for the Tokugawa shogunate, the last traditional government in Japan (1603–1867). Using light ink washes and expressive brushstrokes, Bunchō captures a charged moment between two tigers and brings them to life with a strong sense of movement and character.

Although tigers are not native to Japan, it seems that the people of the Edo period had occasion to see the animals. Being a symbol of fierceness and strength in all East Asian cultures, the tiger is traditionally considered the most powerful animal in repelling evil.