'Tiger and Magpie', painting

'Tiger and Magpie', painting

'Tiger and Magpie'
Painting
Korea
1850-1910
Museum no. FE.68-1997

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.