Shinpan Neko no tenarai shishō

About this object

History of use

Published by Masadaya Heikichi (政田屋平吉), this type of ukiyo-e print is referred to as ōban nishiki-e (ōban refers to a print size about 24-25 x 32-37 cm, and nishiki-e refers to multi-colored woodblock print). This print belongs to a genre known as omocha-e (literally, “toy prints or pictures”), primarily made to entertain children, but also used as a tool to educate them. These prints were mass produced, and often produced by an anonymous artist. Many omocha-e prints depict cats doing human activities, like this one.


Inscribed 新版ねこの手ならい師匠 (Shinpan Neko no tenarai shishō). 政兵 (Masahyō) on the top. Neko means cats, and tenarai refers to writing practice or calligraphy. Shishō means master. Shinpan means new impression or print.

Physical description

Print titled "Cats take calligraphy lessons." Classroom scene with many cats, wearing human clothing, writing calligraphy with brushes and ink. Colours are blue, green, orange, yellow and red. Black Japanese characters appear in columns across the top of the image, and also within the image. There is also a row of characters along the top edge, outside the border.