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Artwork copyright Cappy Thompson. Photo courtesy of the artist, 1990.

Year of the Tiger: Happy Chinese Lunar New Year (2022)

In celebration of the Year of the Tiger and the Chinese Lunar New Year (February 1, 2022), we present a selection of tigers and big cats—and some small cats who think they are big cats—in Washington's State Art Collection.

The Tiger is the third animal in the Chinese zodiac. According to legend, Tiger was confident that no one could compete with its speed for the celestial race that would decide the order of the zodiacs. But when Tiger climbed out of the river, thinking it was first, it was informed that Rat placed first for its cunning and Ox placed second for its steady efforts. The king of the jungle had to settle for third place.

People born in years of the Tiger are fiercely independent, optimistic, and enthusiastic. Their energetic presence and intense eyes are their greatest charms. People are instinctively drawn to them and they are often the center of attention. Tigers usually have a keen sense of justice.

In Chinese astrology, each year is related to a Chinese zodiac animal according to a 12-year cycle. Those who were born in the years 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, and 1936 are known as Tigers.

Happy Year of the Tiger!