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: Tiger with cubs and magpies

Tiger with cubs and magpies

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 15th century
Ink and color on silk
164.8 x 95.3 cm
China, Possibly Zhejiang province
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
A tiger standing protectively over her cubs seems to ignore two magpies scolding from the branches of a pine tree. When combined as the subject of paintings, tigers are messengers of the mountain spirit and magpies are the envoys of the shrine deities that protect house hold and community. Paintings with this motif were displayed in doorways of Korean homes at the New Year to ward off evil. Court artists painted the theme on silk, as in this example, while itinerant painters serving village households used mulberry paper.

To 1911
Riu Cheng Chai, Beijing, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Riu Cheng Chai, Beijing, in 1911 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 810, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
C.L. Freer source: Riu Cheng Chai
On View Location
Currently not on view
China, magpie, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), pine tree, tiger, tree
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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