Exhibition

Neko. The Cat in Japanese Art

31 January t/m 13 September 2020

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From 31 January to 31 september 2020 Japan Museum SieboldHuis is pleased to present:‘NEKO. The Cat in Japanese art’. In traditional and contemporary Japanese prints, rare drawings, artefacts, spectacular scrolls and modern-day photographs, the role of the cat in Japanese art throughout the ages will be exhibited for all to enjoy. This is a ‘must see’ exhibition for cat-lovers of all-ages!

Neko. The Cat in Japanese Art

Japan, famous for its love of cats (neko) has produced such icons as ‘Hello Kitty’, the you tube sensation ‘Maru the Cat’ and even boasts cat cafés, cat shrines, and a number of cat islands! Long before television or the internet, the Japanese embraced the cat. But where did this love of the feline come from? Come and discover the cat in Japanese art as presented in such themes as: ‘Cat Lives’, ‘Cat & Man’ and ‘Mischievous & Malevolent Cats’.

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Left: Takahashi Shōtei, Naakte vrouw speelt met kat, 1927-1930, Scholten Collectie
Right: Wada Yuina, 2015, Collectie Delaive


Comical cats in human form, cuddly and playful cats and cats in their natural habitat are all on display in a variety of objects, prints, scrolls and beautifully illustrated books in Japan Museum SieboldHuis. Rare works by the 18th century artist Utagawa Kunuyoshi (1798-1861) illustrate the special ties he had with his feline house pet. Cats, lovely ladies and courtesans will also feature prominently in the woodblock prints of Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865). In addition to traditional ukiyō-e, both 20th and 21st century prints and art works will also form an integral part of this exhibition. This exhibition will be further enhanced with a selection of unique objects such as netsuke, bronze statues, an immense 19th century maneko neko and the famous beckoning ‘lucky cats’. The most famous cat of all is undoubtedly ‘Hello Kitty’. Born in Japan 45 years ago, Kitty continues to grow worldwide in popularity. Her influence can also be seen in this exhibition in the works of young Japanese artists. In the NEKO project contemporary photography meets cat loving Japanese photographers.

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Left: Maneki neko spaarpot in Tokoname-stijl, ca. 1940. Collectie Suzanne Klüver
Right: Maneki neko in Mikawa-stijl, 19e eeuw, Collectie kattenkabinet


Japan Museum SieboldHuis is delighted to present the Japanese cat, in all its diversity; see the cat in art, take part in the neko-treasure hunt, try your hand on a feline pinball machine or relax on the comfortable cat bed. Captivating and playful kittens, naughty, and mischievous cats all come together in this exhibition that conveys the love of cats throughout the ages in Japanese art.

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Photo: Ogino Naoyuki, The little deity 2019, Collectie Ibasho Gallery

Japan Museum SieboldHuis is delighted to present the Japanese cat, in all its diversity. Captivating and playful kittens, naughty, and mischievous cats all come together in this exhibition that conveys the love of cats throughout the ages in Japanese art.

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