Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Get your fill of cat pictures at the Japan Society

Get your fill of cat pictures at the Japan Society

The Japan Society to present purr-fect show of cat prints this spring

Advertising

Cats! They’re all over the damn Internet (and even in New York's first cat café), thanks to the legions of feline fanciers jonesing for a fix of kitty cuteness. Of course, in a millennium desperate for distraction, it’s easy to forget that cats have enthralled many cultures at various points in history. The ancient Egyptians, for example, were very big on cats. And if you believe the Japan Society, so too, were the Japanese during the Edo Period between 1603 and 1868 (You could say they still are, even if Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, denied the character was a cat last year). Starting March 13, the Japan Society will be hosting an exhibition of traditional Ukiyo-e woodblocks. Titled Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection, the images on offer will feature the likenesses of cats in various situations—from the straightforwardly awww (a Geisha hugging her sweetums) to the bizarre (a human-as-cat leaning on an octopus, who’s presumably waiting to be turned into sushi). There are also scary cats, bored-looking cats, and cats engaged in typical cat behaviors. In all, the show promises to be a pussy riot of fun for fans of cats and Japanese art, alike.

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), Asakusa Ricefields and Torinomachi Festival from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Utagawa Kunisada II (1823–1880), Kashiwagi from the series The False Murasaki's Rustic Genji, 1848–54.Color woodblock print; 22 3/8 x 36 7/8 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunisada II (1823–1880), Kashiwagi from the series The False Murasaki's Rustic Genji, 1848–54.Color woodblock print; 22 3/8 x 36 7/8 inches. 

Advertising
Utagawa Kunisada II (1823–1880), No. 36, Kashiwagi from the series Lady Murasaki's Genji Cards, 1857.Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunisada II (1823–1880), No. 36, Kashiwagi from the series Lady Murasaki's Genji Cards, 1857.Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892), Looking Tiresome: The Appearance of a Virgin of the Kansei Era from the series Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners, 1888. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892), Looking Tiresome: The Appearance of a Virgin of the Kansei Era from the series Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners, 1888. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.

Advertising
Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864), Cat and Beauty from the series Beauties in New Styles Dyed to Order, 1818–30. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864), Cat and Beauty from the series Beauties in New Styles Dyed to Order, 1818–30. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864), The Actor Onoe Kikugorō III as Kayanoya Kanpei, 1833. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864), The Actor Onoe Kikugorō III as Kayanoya Kanpei, 1833. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Advertising
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Parody of Umegae Striking the Bell of Limitless [Hell] from the series Fashionable Cat Games, 1848–54. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Parody of Umegae Striking the Bell of Limitless [Hell] from the series Fashionable Cat Games, 1848–54. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833–1904), The Story of Otomi and Yosaburō, 1860. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Yoshiiku (1833–1904), The Story of Otomi and Yosaburō, 1860. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches. 

Advertising
Utagawa Yoshifuji (1828–1887), Popular Hotspring Spa [of Cats], 1880. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Yoshifuji (1828–1887), Popular Hotspring Spa [of Cats], 1880. Color woodblock print; 22 ½ x 16 inches.

Utagawa Kunitoshi (1847–1899), Newly Published Cat’s Games, 1884. Color woodblock print; 13 ½ x 9 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunitoshi (1847–1899), Newly Published Cat’s Games, 1884. Color woodblock print; 13 ½ x 9 inches.

Advertising
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), From the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Scene at Okazaki: Onoe Kikugorō III as the Neko-ishi no Kai, the Spirit of the Cat Stone, Mimasu Gennosuke I as Shirasuga Jūemon, and Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Inabanosuke, 18
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), From the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road: Scene at Okazaki: Onoe Kikugorō III as the Neko-ishi no Kai, the Spirit of the Cat Stone, Mimasu Gennosuke I as Shirasuga Jūemon, and Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Inabanosuke, 18

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III; 1786–1865), Beloved Concubine Kochō, Her Maid Okoma, and Narushima Tairyō, 1853. Color woodblock print; 22 3/8 x 36 7/8 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III; 1786–1865), Beloved Concubine Kochō, Her Maid Okoma, and Narushima Tairyō, 1853. Color woodblock print; 22 3/8 x 36 7/8 inches.

Advertising
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Private Collection

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches. 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches.
Photograph: Courtesy Private Collection

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches. 

Advertising
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches
Photograph: Courtesy Private Collection

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), Cats Suggested by the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (detail), 1847. Color woodblock print; each sheet 14 5/8 x 10 inches

You may also like

    Advertising