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).
Tigers Crossing a River by Maruyama Okyo, c. 17811782
© British Museum
- 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.