seated tiger licking front PL paw; brown and gold brocade border

Tiger Licking Its Paw, 17th century

Ink on paperexpand_more

Gift of Harriet and Ed Spencerexpand_more  2012.1.5

Not on Viewexpand_more

The endearing pose of a tiger licking his paw was a standard theme among Chinese painters of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). The Japanese painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu might have seen such a painting but instead of imitating the precise, descriptive brushwork of Chinese-style ink painters, he rendered this tiger in pale tonalities, applying the ink with a relatively large brush.

Sōtatsu, son of a wealthy merchant, was a pioneer of the decorative Rinpa style and is today recognized as one of the most prominent artists of Japan. By the late 1620s, he was painting for the imperial court and was the first member of the merchant class that received the honorary Buddhist ecclesiastical title hokkyō (Bridge of the Law).

Tiger Licking Its Paw
Artist Life
died c. 1640
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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seated tiger licking front PL paw; brown and gold brocade border