Kako: Painting of a Black Cat with Golden Eyes

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Artist: Kako (Dates Unknown)
Title: Painting of a Seated Black Cat with Golden Eyes

Date: ca. Taisho period (early 20th century)

Painting on silk of a seated black cat, its golden gaze fixed on the viewer. The pose and shape have the feeling of Art Nouveau, and this cat has a long neck and large ears, almost like an Egyptian cat. In Japan, black cats signify wealth and prosperity–on the ground next to the cat are three golden coins, which have been given a glow of their own. This work is signed “Kako”, although the signature differs from the signature of the renowned painter Tsuji Kako (1870-1931). The painter of this work had a skilled, steady hand and a practiced brush. The eyes are painted in a thick gold with black lacquer pupils and the fine whiskers are also done in gold. The background is nicely done in a soft ink wash style. We can surmise that this painting was meant to bring good luck and prosperity to the home. The silk has been backed with paper and edged with a purple paper border.

Condition: Good/Very good condition overall. Some scattered areas of foxing on the left and a discoloration in the right background. Silk is backed with paper.

Dimensions: 36.3 x 26.2 cm

Seal: artist's seal
Signature: Kako