Divine Felines

By Rhiannon Paget


From Hello Kitty to Maneki Neko – Japan is the epicentre of global cat culture!

Whether lurking in corners or taking centre stage, cats are a ubiquitous presence in Japanese art. Depending on the situation, they may invite good fortune, prompt the viewer to meditate on a tale or provide evidence of an unseen world of magic and supernatural happenings.

In 200 charming woodblock prints, paintings, screens and figurines spanning three centuries, Japanese art expert Rhiannon Paget celebrates the rich symbolism and surprising stories surrounding the feline image in Japan. Her book contains essays on the following fascinating topics:

  • Domestic Companion or Household God? Japanese artists represent the great affection and sense of pride which bonds cat owners to their pets
  • The Feline Muse: Feline figures as ideal subjects for artists to explore in fluid lines and organic forms, their glossy fur and markings lending themselves to the interplay of textures and materials
  • Lucky Cats: Auspicious creatures in Japanese culture, symbolising health, longevity and prosperity
  • Mischief and Mayhem: Japan's rich visual record of cats as witches and feline monsters
  • Philosophers' Cats, Teachers' Pets and Moggies with Messages: The felines deployed to illustrate philosophical and religious ideas, and as conveyors of folk wisdom

This delightful book will appeal to anyone with an interest in Japanese art and culture, plus of course to all cat lovers!

192 pages
hardcover, colour illustrations


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