Life of Cats:
Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection
Friday, March 13, 2015 — Sunday, June 7, 2015
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.
Visit our Gallery page for more information.
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.