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Woodblock print - A Cat Watching Butterflies

A Cat Watching Butterflies

  • Object:

    Woodblock print

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1765-70 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Suzuki Harunobu (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour print from wood blocks, with embossing

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A cat stares intently at two butterflies in this charming Japanese print, which displays a number of interesting techniques. The cat's contours have been skilfully rendered in katazuri, or embossing. Most of the print has been executed in a technique known as musenzuri, whereby the usual black outlines are left out.

Suzuki Harunobu was a printmaker and painter of the Edo period (1615–1868) and a seminal figure in the history of Japanese art. His most accomplished prints date to the last five years of his life and utilise new developments in the production of polychrome prints from multiple woodblocks. By carving registration marks (kentô) on the block and using them to align the paper, artists were no longer limited in the number of blocks they could use to produce a single print. Such prints are called nishiki-e (‘brocade pictures’) after the magnificent brocades produced in the Nishijin district of Kyoto.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


ca. 1765-70 (made)


Suzuki Harunobu (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour print from wood blocks, with embossing


Height: 26.6 cm, Width: 20.5 cm

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ukiyoe: Il Mondo Fluttuante (2004), pp.171
Masterpieces of Japanese Prints: The European Collections: Ukiyoe from the Victoria and Albert Museum (1991), p.56 and 139




East Asia Collection

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