Artist/maker unknown, India
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The tiger population in Bengal today is very limited and found almost exclusively in the mangrove swamps of the southern delta, known as the Sundarbans. In the past, however, tigers roamed the vast region in great numbers, posing a formidable threat to humans and domestic animals. For this reason the tiger figures prominently in Bengali culture, as a character in many local tales, a protector deity in both Hindu and Muslim belief, and a formidable presence in the visual arts.