Black feng shui cat, £5.50
Panel from a shrine or temple
Edo period, 17th century AD
This wooden openwork panel would have been used as part of the wall above the sliding doors to decorate the exterior of a temple or shrine. It is deeply carved to allow the passage of air in the hottest summer weather. It was originally brightly painted. Such panels were a favourite feature of the architecture of the Edo period in Japan (1600-1868).
The subjects here are the tiger and bamboo, which are often shown together in Japanese art; the strength of the tiger is complemented by that of the bamboo, which bends but does not break.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)