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Maker(s):Utagawa Yoshifuji; Kitaya Magobei, publisher
Culture:Japanese (1828–1887); Japanese (active ca. 1844–1861)
Title:The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō: The Bewitched Cat of Okabe ("Gojūsan tsugi no uchi neko no ayashi')
Date Made:ca. 1847–1848
Type:Print
Materials:polychrome woodblock print
Place Made:Edo
Measurements:Mat: 20 in x 16 in; 50.8 cm x 40.6 cm; Sheet: 14 in x 9 11/16 in; 35.6 cm x 24.6 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1996.134
Credit Line:Gift of William Green
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College
1996_134.jpg

Description:
ōban tate-e; nishiki-e

Label Text:
This enchanted cat’s face is a composite of several smaller cats, with its eyes made of two cat bells and its mouth the thick ribbon collar traditionally worn by domestic cats in Japan. The subject is taken from a kabuki play about a famous landmark: a cat-shaped stone, located next to a temple in the village of Okabe, one of 53 post-stations on the Tōkaidō Road. It was believed that a cat witch, disguised as a friendly old woman, once haunted the temple grounds, luring young girls into her house to kill and devour them. Eventually, the witch's evil transformed her into the “cat stone,” which remains in Okabe to this day. The slashes across this print create an energy that, coupled with the vicious expression on the cat’s face, makes the figure seem to leap out at the viewer.
BB, ed., 2015

Tags:
cats; animals; faces; patterns; eye; nose; supernatural

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/test/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=AC+1996.134

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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