Dragon and Tiger
Color on paper, a pair of two-fold screens
Traditional Chinese mystical animals painted by an artist from Tochigi.
도치기현 출신 화가가 그린 중국에서 전해 오는 신비한 동물
In the Yangtze valley in prehistoric China, the dragon was believed to be a mystical animal deeply related to rain or the water current and one that ascends to the sky. From the Han dynasty onwards, the azure dragon of the east, the white tiger of the west, the vermilion bird (phoenix) of the south, and the black turtle-snake of the north were regarded as the four Taoist gods and portrayed in paintings. In the Song dynasty, there were painters such as Chen Rong, who specialized in dragon paintings. “Clouds follow the dragon, the wind follows the tiger …,” a passage in I Ching (Book of Changes), was pictorialized and widely circulated. When Hirokata began working on these screens, he remarked, “… I want to try a new style of brushwork without following conventional expressions and of course make the most of ink drawing rather than a colorful work.” Indeed, Hirokata’s work is different from the type of dragon and tiger paintings inspired by artists such as Chen Rong and Muqi Fachang, which were popular in Japan. As a result, the mystique of the dragon and tiger painting may have been spoiled, but these screens are very interesting from the point of view of Hirokata’s pursuit of a new idea. In the background of the production of this work, we should also consider the influence of murals Hirokata actually saw on a visit to the Korean Kingdom. These screens were submitted to The 18th Saiko In-ten (Restored Japan Art Institute Exhibition).