Cats & Peonies

He Yu (何煜, 1853-1928)1904

Hwajeong Museum

Hwajeong Museum
Seoul, South Korea

Cat symbolized longevity in general. This is because Chinese character for a cat (猫) and that of ‘old’ (耄) are both pronounced ‘mao.’ Meanwhile a cat drawn with long, narrow iris would indicate that it’s noon in the picture, the brightest time of the day. Add some tall and long peonies into the scene to show flowers in full bloom and the painting would be interpreted as symbolizing wealth and prosperity in full bloom just those peonies.
He Yu who was born in Shanghai was active throughout late Qing Era to early days of the Republic of China. He was also skilled at drawing birds and flowers.


  • Title: Cats & Peonies
  • Creator: He Yu (何煜, 1853-1928)
  • Date Created: 1904
  • Physical Dimensions: 173.0×100.0cm
  • Type: painting
  • Publisher: Hwajeong Museum
  • Rights: Hwajeong Museum
  • Medium: color on paper

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