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Painting - Tiger and Magpie

Tiger and Magpie

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Korea (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black ink and colours on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the help of Museum colleagues in memory of Lisa Bailey (1964-1996), Curator of Korean Art 1994-1996

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Paintings of tigers and magpies were popular in Korea in the 19th century and were often displayed on the front gate of homes at New Year. In Korea, the tiger is considered the most powerful of evil-repelling animals, while magpies are traditionally viewed as the bearers of good news. This subject matter was thus not only visually appealing, but was also thought to provide protection and attract good fortune for the forthcoming year.

The humour of this particular painting is characteristic of the genre. Two magpies look down on the tiger from the safe distance of a pine tree. Frustrated by their constant chattering but powerless to stop it, the tiger growls back at them, revealing his red tongue and two fangs.

Physical description

A large tiger with striped fur and a long tail curving around the lower half of the picture is seated with its body facing to the right and its head turned to the left. The tiger appears to be looking at two magpies perched in the branches of a pine tree in the top left-hand side of the picture.

Place of Origin

Korea (made)


1850-1910 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Black ink and colours on paper


Width: 57.5 cm with mount, Height: 111 cm with mount, Depth: 1.5 cm with mount, Width: 43.3 cm without mount, Height: 73.7 cm without mount

Object history note

Korean folk painting

Descriptive line

Painting showing a tiger and two magpies, Korea, 1850-1910.


Ink; Paper

Subjects depicted

Magpies (birds); Tigers


Paintings; Folk Art


East Asia Collection

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