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Netsuke, Tomin, Japan, about late 18th or early 19th century. Museum no. A.939-1910

Netsuke, Tomin, Japan, about late 18th or early 19th century. Museum no. A.939-1910

The Chinese use the lunar calendar for festive occasions including the New Year which falls somewhere between late January and early February. The cycle of twelve animal signs derives from Chinese folklore as a method for naming the years. The animals follow one another in an established order and are repeated every twelve years - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal has particular characteristics and people born in a certain year are believed to take on these characteristics.

Tiger characteristics

People born in the Year of the Tiger are born leaders, who walk and talk assertively and inspire respect. They are courageous and energetic, love a challenge or competition and are prepared to take risks. They are hungry for excitement and crave attention. They can also be rebellious, short-tempered and outspoken, prefering to give orders rather than take them, which often leads to conflict. Tiger people may appear calm but there is often a hidden aggressiveness, but they can also be sensitive, humorous and capable of great generosity and love. There is never a dull moment with a Tiger.

Tiger Years: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

The following objects show examples of tigers from different parts of the V&A's collections. Thetiger has different meanings to different cultures and religions throughout the world.

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