HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 12)

The Cat in Ming and Ching Dynasty Paintings: During this period Ming and Ching Dynasty artists, unlike their European counterparts, focused their paintings on cats in tranquil natural settings.  In Cats and Bamboo by Shen Chen-Lin (1427-1509), two white cats with red tassel and gold bell collars demurely look toward the artist, while a third brown cat approaches the other two.

Cats and Bamboo Shen Chen-Lin Ching Dynasty 1644-1912 National Palace Museum, cat in ming and ching dynasty paintings

Cats and Bamboo, Shen Chen-Lin
Ching Dynasty 1644-1912
National Palace Museum

Sketches from Life Shen Chou Ming Dynasty 1427-1509 National Palace Museum, cat in ming and ching dynasty paintings

Sketches from Life Shen Chou
Ming Dynasty 1427-1509
National Palace Museum

  In Cats and Grasses, from the Ming Dynasty, T’ao C’heng portrays twenty-two cats in various poses enjoying a day out.

Cats and Grasses T'ao Ch'eng Ming Dynasty 1368-1644, cat in Ming and Ching dynasty paintings

Cats and Grasses
T’ao Ch’eng
Ming Dynasty
1368-1644

Moreover, the Emperor Hsuan Tsung (1426-35), is said to have found great pleasure in painting cats in his garden.  Depicted as a seemingly peaceful part of an accepted nature, there is great care taken in these cats’ representations, which are permeated by a certain love and respect.

Noble Peonies in a vase Emperor Hsuan-Tsung Ming Dynasty 1368-1644 National Palace Museum,cat in Ming and Ching dynasty paintings

Noble Peonies in a Vase
Emperor Hsuan-Tsung, Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
National Palace Museum

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