Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, ‘Riding a Tiger (Tora-o-Maru)’, 1866, Japan Society Benefit Auction 2016

Tigers have been widely represented in Japanese art from the 16th century onward--first imbued with Daoist cosmological significance and later as symbols of political prowess. With the rise of nishiki-e (multi-color woodblock prints) during the late 18th century, tigers became a popular for many ukiyo-e masters such as Hokusai, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, and Yoshitoshi. This print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi was first published in 1866 in the series "Biyu Suikoden (Sagas of Beauty and Bravery)" and depicts Tora-o-Maru, King of the Tigers, a figure from the Chinese story about Northern Song Dynasty vigilantes that became extremely popular in Japan in the 19th century for its anti-establishment themes.


Series: Sagas of Beauty and Bravery (Biyu Sukoden)

Image rights: Courtesy of John K. Wheeler

About Tsukioka Yoshitoshi