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Asian Art

Tiger Woman

19th century

Opaque watercolor on paper

image: 9 1/2 × 10 1/8 in. (24.1 × 25.7 cm)
Katharine Ordway Collection
1980.12.67
The woman in this painting, who shed her sari on the riverbank while being pursued by two men, has submerged her tiger body in the river. Her human head remains above the water, and her unbound hair wafts along the currents. Woman-tiger hybrids have a long history in Indian visual and literary culture; at least one such figure was recorded on seals produced during the Indus Valley Civilization in the first millennium B.C.E. This powerful being, with her feline-headed paws, likely illustrates an as-yet-unidentified tale from classic literature.
Geography: 
India
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Indian
Period: 
Mughal dynasty (1526–1857)
Classification: 
Paintings
Provenance: 

Katharine Ordway (1899–1979) Collection, Weston, Conn.; bequest in 1980 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Lesley K. Baier, The Katharine Ordway Collection, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 114, no. 99.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.