Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

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 chatter to each other on the bough of a pine tree. A tiger, frustrated by their noise but powerless to stop it, glares up at them from below.

Physical description

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

Place of Origin

Korea (made)


1850-1910 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Black ink and colours on paper


Height: 124.8 cm with mount, Width: 62.5 cm with mount, Depth: 1.5 cm with mount, Height: 99.5 cm without mount, Width: 50 cm without mount

Object history note

Korean folk painting of a tiger and magpies

Descriptive line

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

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Beth McKillop & Pauline LeMoigne "Tradition and Transformation : two decades of Korean Art and Design at the V&A Museum" in Orientations,Volume 43, number 6, September 2012, pp.83-91.
published in


Ink; Paper

Subjects depicted

Magpies (birds); Tigers


Folk Art; Paintings


East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.