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Tawaraya Sōtatsu Japanese

Not on view

The softness and calm seen in this rendering of a tiger quietly licking its forepaw would become a hallmark of Rinpa ink paintings of animals or Buddhist and Daoist sages, in distinct contrast to the brightly colored compositions of floral or arboreal themes. The pale and seemingly hazy fur on this monochrome tiger may at first appear to have been brushed in a rather casual manner, but close examination shows that a vast number of the animal’s hairs have been minutely painted one by one. Meanwhile the stripes, legs, paws, and mouth have been indicated with full, moist lines. The soft application of ink and the rounded style that artists used to depict tigers, not an animal native to Japan, result in a gentle, even adorable, feline species. Ogata Kōrin’s version of the subject was preserved in One Hundred Paintings by Kōrin (Kōrin hyakuzu), compiled by Edo Rinpa masters Sakai Hōitsu and Suzuki Kiitsu.

Tiger, Tawaraya Sōtatsu (Japanese, ca. 1570–ca. 1640), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Japan

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