Ink painting is an art form that has been practiced for centuries in many parts of Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea1. Ink paintings are created by using brushes and ink on various types of paper or silk, and they often feature subjects such as landscapes, flowers, and animals. Among these subjects, cats have been a popular subject for ink painters throughout history.
Given the slinkiness of their silhouettes and the rounded contours of their bodies, cats remain favored subjects among Chinese painters and calligraphy artists2. In China, cats have been a popular subject for ink painters for centuries, with artists capturing the essence of these graceful creatures in various poses. Ohara Koson's "Cat and Butterfly" portrays a cat crouched on a branch, with a butterfly perched on its nose. The painting's muted colors and delicate lines convey the serene beauty of the scene, while the playful interaction between the cat and butterfly captures the essence of the cat's curious and mischievous nature.
In Japan, cats have also been a popular subject for ink painters. Oide Tōkō's "Cat Watching a Spider" is a perfect example of the beauty and simplicity of Japanese ink painting. The painting depicts a cat perched on a wooden floor, watching a spider on the wall. The use of minimalistic lines and simple brushstrokes captures the cat's alert posture and focused gaze.
In Korea, ink paintings of cats are also highly regarded3. Byeon Sang-byeok's "Myojakdo" is a beautiful example of traditional Korean ink painting, featuring cats and sparrows in a lively and dynamic composition. The use of thick and thin brushstrokes creates a sense of movement and energy, while the intricate details of the cats and sparrows highlight their individual personalities. Ink paintings of cats from China, Japan, and Korea demonstrate the enduring appeal of these beloved feline friends as a subject for art. These paintings capture the grace, beauty, and unique personalities of cats, and continue to be highly valued by collectors and art enthusiasts around the world.