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Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Exhibition Detail
Cats to Crickets Pets in Japan's Floating World
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

July 21st, 2012 - February 18th, 2013
© Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston
United States
10am to 4:45pm, daily, and till 9:45pm Wed. to Fri.

Urban commoners in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japan, known as the Floating World, enjoyed a hedonistic lifestyle that included the pleasure of the companionship of pet animals. Many woodblock prints of fashionable beauties show them accompanied by elegant, pampered pets that symbolize luxury and sensuality. Formerly a prerogative of the nobility, pets were now available to newly affluent commoners as well.

Cats and small dogs were especially favored as indoor pets, but monkeys, mice, fish, birds, and even singing insects were also cherished.  Meanwhile, on the streets and in the countryside, dogs were beloved pets of both children and adults. Traveling entertainers presented acts by trained monkeys in costumes, and artists sometimes drew humorous fantasy scenes of animals engaged in human activities.  

Not just for animal lovers, “Cats to Crickets” will also appeal to those interested in early modern Japanese popular culture and fine printmaking.

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