The sculptor Hashimoto Heihachi was a native of Ise, in southern Mie Prefecture. It is well known that he used wood for the majority of his sculptures, and in fact, the majority of his sculptures which survive today are in wood, but he also has one early clay statue of a cat, which he seems to have used as a model for a wooden sculpture. In most cases, when one tries to sculpt the same thing in both wood and clay, the results are slightly different because of the differences in the media. When one compares Heihachi’s two sculptures of cats, however, one senses that he was in complete control of his medium at all times, even though the techniques needed for wood and clay are quite different. He once said about the wooden sculpture, “This is my own portrait, my posture, my attitude.” The cat depicted in this sculpture has bold distinct features and ears that stand straight up. Heihachi has depicted the musculature of the cat’s back with incredibly accurate indentations and ridges. In these features, one clearly can see the sharp observational skills and extraordinary creative abilities of the sculptor. After producing Cat A, Heihachi produced another sculpture of a cat, which he called Cat B. Both of these sculptures show the strong influence of Satō Chōzan (1888-1963), a sculptor who was well known for his compact carvings of animals. Also in these early works, one sees Heihachi’s eagerness to capture the form of his subject down to the smallest detail. His attention to detail is visible throughout the remainder of his career.


  • Title: Cat A
  • Date: 1922/1922
  • sculptor: HASHIMOTO Heihachi
  • Physical Dimensions: w23.2 x h35 cm (complete)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): 橋本平八
  • Provenance: Mie Prefectural Art Museum
  • Type: Camphor
  • Rights: Mie Prefectural Art Museum

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