Hokusai

The Snow Leopard

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While we know Hokusai for his woodblock prints, the beautiful "Old Tiger in the Snow" was a design for a hanging scroll. He created the work in 1849, the year of his death.

An old, pallid tiger, half-pads, half-floats upward toward something out of sight. Often interpreted as a mystical self-portrait, the tiger metaphorically represents Hokusai's spirit preparing to leave this earthly plane.

It does so with its head held high and an anthropomorphic smile of satisfaction on its face.

The branches of bamboo trees are covered and drooping under the weight of heavy snowfall, except for the ends, which visually echo the tiger's grasping claws.

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