Support. Survive. Thrive


, ,

The Legend of the last South China Tiger

Written and Drawn especially for Save Wild Tigers by Jane Lee McCracken


‘Yin and Yang’, 2013, Black and Neon Orange Biro Drawing

And so the legend of the last wild South China tiger begins …Under the constellation of the White Tiger of the West, protected by the sacred Tigress Warriors of Yin, the last wild South China tiger cub, Amoy cowers behind the most powerful of the Tigress Warriors. Amoy can hear the reverberation of horses’ hooves coming closer. In the East under the constellation of the Azure Dragon, the warriors of Yang ride out in search of Amoy. Clouds of dust raised by the galloping cavalry form Goddesses of Love in the sky, who anticipate his capture; for the Azure Dragon prizes the bones of the White Tiger’s children. Misguidedly he thinks tiger parts cure disease and heighten passion and has slain Amoy’s relatives one by one. But the Tigress Warriors are brave and fearless and their swords are sharp. Amoy’s eyes widen with fear as the cavalry draws closer. 

‘Butterfly Lover’, 2014 Black and Neon Orange Biro Drawing.

Amoy has survived and thrived under the protection of the Tigress Warriors and grown into the most magnificent male tiger that ever lived in China. He rolls on his back in the sunshine and plays with butterflies. Softly the music of the ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’ drifts over him and turns into musical notes glistening on his sleek fur. Then, the butterflies begin to transform and suddenly the beautiful face of Zhu Yingtai appears on the wings of the first butterfly. Amoy is so entranced by her beauty, he begins to dream of a mate. All of a sudden the face of the most beautiful tigress he could ever imagine emerges on the wings of the second butterfly. Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo, the ‘Butterfly Lovers’, begin to appear on his fur. Amoy smiles – he rolls over and dreams of his mate and the survival of his species, and continues to play with butterflies.




 ‘Yin and Yang’ was inspired by images from the films ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’, Ang Lee, 2000, ‘Hero’, Zhang Yimou, 2002, ‘House of the Flying Daggers’, Zhang Yimou, 2004, ‘Red Cliff’, John Woo, 2008 and ‘2046’, Wong Kar-wai, 2004. She took her own still photographs of all five films and used them as inspiration for this drawing. Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong become the Goddesses in the clouds of Yang. The fate of some captive South China tigers is reflected on the sword of the most powerful Tigress Warrior.

‘Butterfly Lover’ the second drawing made specially for Save Wild Tigers, was inspired by the epic and moving ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, 1959 (梁祝小提琴协奏曲 the Chinese title appearing on the fur of Amoy’s shoulder). The face of the heroine Zhu Yingtai from the old Chinese legend ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is that of Faye Wong from ‘2046’.

Jane’s drawings symbolise the fate of the South China tiger subspecies, which is thought to survive only in captivity but also carries a message of hope. Save Wild Tigers are working tirelessly to ensure other tiger subspecies will continue to play with butterflies.


'Butterfly Lover' is the second Biro drawing in the diptych 'South China Tiger' donated to save wild tigers by Jane Lee McCracken. A series of Luxury Limited Edition 20 signed prints are available to buy on Janes website with ALL profits from each print sold donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS.

Find out more here

'Butterfly Lover', Luxury Limited Edition of 20 Signed Prints, £225 each inclusive P&P.