The Department of Asia in the British Museum has one of the largest collections of historical artifacts from Asia, consisting of over 70,000 objects; included among them are paintings and other objects depicting cats.
This Japanese hanging scroll painting, cat licking paw, dates from 1789-1792.
Cat and rat Shinto procession is a Japanese painting from 1879 attributed to artist Kawanabe Kyosai. It depicts a mock Shinto procession, with a cat borne on a gourd by rats, accompanied by another cat being ridden by rats.
Black cat stretching is a Japanese woodblock print made around 1935 by Takahashi Hiroaki.
Cats are the subject of this pair of woodblock prints by Japanese artist Inagaki Tomoo. Stretching cat [left] is from 1963 and combines various stages of a cat’s movement while stretching. Two cats are depicted in the 1970 print Black cat and white cat [right].
A Japanese ivory cat netsuke [above left] shows a cat licking its paw. A netsuke is a small intricately carved toggle traditionally used to fasten a small container to a kimono sash.
This Chinese porcelain crouching cat [above right] is hollow and has no base; traces of soot support the idea that it was used as a night light. Its fur is depicted using rows of short fine black lines, black patches and stripes around its tail. The piece dates from 1690-1722.
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