Life of Cats at Japan Society, NYC

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If you happen to be in Manhattan before June 7, make a point of visiting the Japan Society to take in their exquisite exhibit, Life of Cats. The pieces on display are primarily ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Edo Period (1615-1867) which beautifully demonstrate the affinity the Japanese have long had for cats. The exhibit is divided into 5 sections that demonstrate all the ways cats have infiltrated art and society: Cats and People, Cats as People, Cats versus People, Cats Transformed and, my favorite and maybe the most inspirational, Cats and Play. There was a full spectrum of work: tender, serious, baudy, horrifying and silly.

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The entryway panels, leading into the Cats and People section.

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Very early cat dude.

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Part of a series - The lovers Oshun and Denbei: A Play with Sleazy Love Scenes from the series Fashionable Cat Frolics, 1847. One of my favorites!

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A depiction of a tiger, likely based on observing a domesticated cat. Detail of Dragon and Tiger, by Yoshimura Kokei, 1836.

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Depictions of "Bake Neko" - Cat Monsters. One of these is the Nekomata which is identified by their split tails.

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Some of the Omocha-e or "Toy Pictures" which here demonstrate cats playing childrens' games, but oftentimes teach moral lessons, counting, reading and for general entertainment.

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Anoter toy picture where the cats (and fish!) were made into letterforms, spelling out the word "catfish", demonstrating a beautiful play on words.

The diversity of this show will touch all ages of cat and art lover.

Through June 7, 2015

333 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017

Japan Society site


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