Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867). The exhibition is divided into five sections: Cats and People, Cats as People, Cats versus People, Cats Transformed and Cats and Play. 90 ukiyo-e prints in the exhibition are on loan from the esteemed Hiraki Ukiyo-e Foundation whose holdings are revered in Japan. Select prints, paintings, sculptures, and other works borrowed from U.S. collections complement these prints, making the exhibition over 120 artworks. With cross-cultural and multi-generational appeal, Life of Cats takes viewers on a wild ride through Japan’s love affair with our feline friends.
Roughly 50 items will be replaced with new works halfway through Life of Cats—Rotation 1 will be on view from March 13 until April 26; Rotation 2 will be on view from April 29 until June 7.
Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines.
Exhibitions at Japan Society are made possible in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund, Director’s Circle members, and Friends of the Gallery.
Arts & Culture Lecture Programs are made possible by funding from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund.
Additional support is provided by Chris A. Wachenheim, and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.
- March 13, 2015 – June 7, 2015