Tiger Drinking from a Raging River

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Tiger Drinking from a Raging River

circa 1640
Paintings; screens
Two-panel folding screen; ink on paper
Image: 59 1/4 x 68 in. (150.5 x 172.72 cm); Mount (open): 66 x 75 x 3/4 in. (167.64 x 190.5 x 1.91 cm)
Gift of the 2010 Collectors Committee (M.2010.34)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Created in the Kanei period (1624–44), Tiger Drinking from a Raging River is the only signed screen painting by the celebrated artist Kano Sansetsu (1590–1651) to ever leave Japan....
Created in the Kanei period (1624–44), Tiger Drinking from a Raging River is the only signed screen painting by the celebrated artist Kano Sansetsu (1590–1651) to ever leave Japan. The most original Japanese artist of the seventeenth century, Sansetsu is often favorably compared to the eighteenth-century painter Ito Jakuchu, who is well represented in American collections. Sansetsu’s legendary humor and originality infuse this wonderful painting. In East Asian yin-yang cosmology, the tiger (yin) is female and the dragon (yang) is male. As she takes a sip from the river, the tigress looks up at the cresting wave thinking, “I hope I don’t get drenched!” Since the Japanese had never seen an actual tiger, she has a leopard-like tail and paws, but tiger-like stripes everywhere else. The tigress takes up the entire left panel; rolling waves, stretching into the distance like a sinuous mountain range, fill the right panel. This important screen will be an icon of LACMA’s Japanese Art collection. (Robert T. Singer, Curator of Japanese Art)
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