About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

wordless vintage wednesday

from the museum collection

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

a cat woodcut a day keeps the blues away

images copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
Boston, MA artist Hillary Sprague loves woodcuts.  She comes by this love naturally; as the daughter of a master furniture maker, she grew up watching the beauty of natural materials being shaped in tandem with good craft.  "I find beauty in how their unique properties can influence the direction of your craft- as if you are collaborating together," she writes.  
For 2018 she's decided on an intense and fun engagement with her chosen medium.  She's doing a cat-themed woodcut per day till 2019, and that's freehand. No prep drawing, no tracing, just cutting.  Above is "First Light," and below is "Window Seat."  I'm going to reiterate that - one cat woodcut every day.  Longtime readers know how fond I am of woodcuts, so you know I was thrilled.
Want to keep up with the challenge and see her other work? 
Here's H M S Printmaking on Etsy.
Here's her website.

Monday, April 16, 2018

happiest bowl ever

Queens College, Daghlian Collection of Chinese Art, photo by Brita Helgesen 01/24/14. (PD)
You know those mugs that are made with a creature waiting at the bottom?  You're drinking your coffee, tea, whatever, and then there's a frog peeking out at you two-thirds of the way down?  I wondered if this bowl from Six Dynasties China (220-568 CE) was the same kind of thing.  However, this bowl is only 2.25 inches high (and 4.375 inches wide), and he sticks up quite a bit.  Perhaps it was fun to eat around him.  I would throw pretzels in with him any day.
Six Dynasties China is particularly interesting; while it was a long period of political upheaval, it was also a time of cultures intermingling.  Longtime Museum readers know how much I love those for their fresh, fascinating results, and here's proof right here.  Traditional Chinese art standards were mixed with influences from Buddhism as it infiltrated popular thought, as well as from Central Asian ruling classes.  I love that this long-ago potter felt free as a result to make a perfect little dog and - bonus style points - extend his spots to the bowl around him.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"scabby cats live a long time" - the cat in italian proverbs

I've found a huge collection in Italian with pages (!!) full of cat proverbs.  Everything you see below I translated with GoogleTranslate....so certainly feel free to correct me.
I buoni gatti prendono topi  in casa e fuori - Good cats take mice indoors and out.
I gatti scabbiosi vivono a lungo - Scabby cats live a long time.
Gatto nero non divien bianco per sapone - Black cat does not become white for (with) soap.
La merda di gatto non e salsiccia arrosto - Cat s**t is not roasted sausage.  (Dying to know what brought that one about - curator)
Anche i bei gattini hanno unghie aguzze - Even the beautiful kittens have sharp nails.  (Yes. Yes they do - curator)
Preghiera di gatti non sale in cielo - Cats' prayers don't rise to the heavens.
La gatta dice mezzo il suo cuore - The cat tells her heart half (tells half her heart?).
Gli amore del gatto finiscono con graffi - Cat's love ends with scratches.
Il gatto, quantunque chiuda gli occhi, non e cieco - The cat, though it closes its eyes, is not blind.
Gatto bianco con coda nera, parla assai del l'ermellino - A white cat with a black tail speaks highly of ermine.
I gatti e le pulzellone, hanno la vita tenace - Cats and wizards are tenacious of life.  (Wizards? - curator)

Strafforello, Gustavo, 1820-1903. La Sapienza Del Mondo: Ovvero, Dizionario Universale Dei Proverbi Di Tutti I Popoli, Raccolti, Tradotti, Comparati, E Commentati Da Gustavo Strafforello, Con L'aggiunta Di Aneddoti, Racconti, Fatterelli, E Di Illustrazioni Storiche, Morali, Scientifiche, Filologiche, Ecc. Torino: A. F. Negro, 1883. vol. 2. pp. 168-78.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

vintage photo time

from the museum collection

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

cat helps keep you clean

Child's Bib, 19th century; cotton; H x W: 59.9 x 45.3 cm (23 9/16 x 17 13/16 in.); 1949-39-1
This lyrical design, in which the cat is practically one of the surrounding flowers, is resist printed on the fabric of this 19th-century child's bib.

Monday, April 09, 2018

bunny bowl, 12thc iran

Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery.  Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore
This bowl measures 3 3/8 x 7 3/16 in. (8.5 x 18.2 cm), a good size for soup or a salad, perhaps.  I wonder who owned this bowl back in 12th-century Iran, what they liked best to have served in it, and whether they asked specially to have such a graceful, vine-entwined rabbit painted on it.  It was made in Seljuk Period Iran (1038-1194), a period of prosperity and thriving arts (here's the Metropolitan Museum of Art on that).  I was also able to find a reference that suggests the rabbit/vine motif celebrates the goodness of life now and to come. 

Sunday, April 08, 2018

top hat

Takeuchi Seihō [Public domain in Japan], via Wikimedia Commons
Are you looking for a hat or a house, little fellow?  We've seen nihonga painter Takeuchi Seiho at the Museum before, but this 1937 "Mouse and Top Hat" is a perfect snapshot of Seiho's use of Western realism in an unmistakably Japanese way.