A Mid Joseon Korean Wooden Carving of a Tiger –Page 1
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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Pre 1837 VR: item # 1017973
Please refer to our stock # ICHI 3238 when inquiring.
Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395
NOTE - This is page 1 of this listing.
This wonderfully carved wood folk carving of a tiger is clearly of Korean origin. If one looks at various Korean scrolls of tigers, the resemblance is immediately apparent. The tiger stands 8” high and is 6” long by 4” deep. The four teeth in the head of the tiger appear to be actual teeth from some mammal – they are not elephant ivory – could be bone. The stripes of the tiger are represented by incised lines. His tail curves out from next to his left leg. The face has that somewhat whimsical expression that is so typical of all the Korean tigers we have seen. We do not know what type of wood was used for the carving.
There are four holes in the base of the piece – three are round holes that go all the way through the oval base from top to bottom. These would appear to have been made to accommodate some fasteners to hold the piece to a larger base. Then there is a rectangular hole on the back in the back of the base that is 3 ¼” deep and 1 ¼” by ¾” – the purpose of this deep hole is a mystery to us.
The carving is in excellent condition with just one tiny frit on the top of the left ear. There are a couple of surface cracks that are completely stable. The patina is superb. We date the carving to the late 18th to early 19th century of the Joseon (Choson) dynasty, 1392/1897. The piece has an old label stating that it came from the Trocadero Collection of Kenny and Higgins Asian Art. They attributed it to the Alsdorf Collection – see footnote *. However, we have no documentation to verify that part of the piece’s provenance. Foot Note * - The Art Institute of Chicago. The newly designed space contains 435 works, half of which are from the distinguished Alsdorf collection, and extends from galleries that house the art of China, Japan, and Korea. “The Art Institute is home to one of the world’s strongest holdings of Asian Art,” said Alsdorf Associate Curator Madhuvanti Ghose. “Because of space limitations, however, visitors have rarely been able to see the full strength and depth of the collection. The Alsdorf Collection stands out as a true jewel among the museum’s holdings, internationally recognized for its scope, beauty, and quality. I am thrilled be a part of this massive project of unveiling this collection and showcasing it for museum visitors.”