Medieval Paintings

Feature Exhibition
Hear Me Roar: Celebrating the Year of the Tiger
January 2, 2022 - February 13, 2022

2022 is the Year of the Tiger. The tiger has a rich history in Japanese art, despite the fact that it is not native to Japan. How did people depict an animal that they could not observe in real life? Artists and craftsmen of the past relied on a mix of pictures, stories, and fur pelts imported from distant lands as a basis for imagining what these ferocious felines must have looked like. The tigers assembled in this exhibition represent a diverse range of understandings that the people of Japan and East Asia brought to this most mysterious of wild animals.

2. Tiger Companions

Tigers make their companions look good! Perhaps that is why in paintings they are often portrayed together with legendary and superhuman figures. When paired with a dragon, the two auspicious beasts are seen as embodying the cosmic forces of heaven and earth. The tiger was also believed to dwell in bamboo forests, so if you see what looks like an adorable kitty amidst a thicket of bamboo, it's probably a tiger!

3. Real Tigers

The many tigers we’ve seen so far were given form by human imagination and represent different cultural interpretations of tigers as fantastical, highly symbolic creatures. But what do actual tigers looks like? The artists of the final two paintings in this exhibition sought to portray the likeness of real, living tigers. How do these tigers compare with the other images in the exhibition?

 

Feature Exhibition   Hear Me Roar: Celebrating the Year of the Tiger

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