An antique Japanese scroll of a recumbent cat gazing into the foreground amongst the blooming Peony flowers. Hand painted on silk using opaque pigments. Subject was painted in the style reminiscent of the Sung and Ming dynasty images of cats with the unusual exception of its gaze towards the viewer rather than looking up or at the flowers. Both the cat and the Peonies are auspicious symbols in the Japanese culture and often depicted in its art and poetry. It has an artist’s chop seal 痴, (pronounced “Chi”) which is the artist’s chosen name. When choosing this name it would serve as a metaphor for this style of art. Artist take on names to explore different expressions of art which was typical of the Taisho Period when a new form of art emerged.
Chi would translate to foolish obsession. In this case the cat is foolishly obsessed with the Dayflower (Commelina communis) to its right that looks strikingly like a mouse. This flower is used as a blue dye for illustators and printers. The scroll includes its Tomobako.
Age: Taisho Period, circa 1920s.
Size H 90 1/2 ” x W 41.5″
Art H 66 1/2″ x W 34″