This rare study after a Far Eastern prototype, this drawing of a family of tigers is compelling evidence of the complex interaction between the fifteenth century Turkic world and China.
Its closest parallel is another ink drawing of a tiger in the Topkapi Museum, H.2153, fol.89b (David J. Roxburgh ed., Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, London, 2005, cat.177, p.227). In both the compact shape of the tigers, and the paired stripes running down their backs are forceful expressions of the pent-up energy of their mighty bodies.
The individual plants in the foreground recall those of what may have been the original source, tenth century Song paintings (Roxburgh, op.cit., 2005, cat.174, p.223).
The landscape surrounding the pen drawings of the tigers was subsequently over-painted and laid down on a late Ottoman album page.