Tigers Crossing a River by Maruyama Okyo

This six-panel Japanese folding screen depicts tigers crossing a river, inspired by an ancient Chinese legend: if a mother tiger gives birth to three cubs, it was believed that one is always a leopard (hyo).


Ink, colour & gold leaf on paper
153.5 x 352.8 cm
Art Fund grant:
£92,695 ( Total: £185,390)
Acquired in:
Ryo Iida Asian Art

She has to be careful when crossing a river not to leave the ferocious hyo alone with the other cubs. Okyo was the most influential Japanese painter of his generation, and it is likely that he was assisted by his pupils, including his leading pupil Gen Ki.


Work bears label with seal of industrialist-collector Hara Sankei (1868-1939); acquired circa 1976 by the father of Ryo Iida, also a dealer; by descent to Ryo Iida, Ryo Iida Asian Art, Ardsley, USA.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8181 www.britishmuseum.org

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