A tiger emerges from a bamboo thicket while another sits and roars. Tigers are not indigenous to Japan, so artists relied on images or animal pelts from China and Korea to learn about the animal’s appearance. As gods of the mountain, tigers were believed to cause the wind to blow and were often contrasted with dragons, gods of the sky, who could make rain fall. The belief that tigers inhabited bamboo groves was established in the Golden Light Sutra, a Buddhist text, and the pairing of tigers and bamboo became an auspicious symbol in China in the tenth century.
"Acquisitions of the Art Museum 1990," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 50, no. 1 (1991): p. 16-69.