Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Okabe - The Cat Witch
Date: c. 1844
Cats have been held in a very low esteem, might be that in some version recounting the death of the buddha, they appear as the only animals not to weep. In Kuniyoshi's time, it was believed that when a girl visited a temple after dark, she took the risk of being greeted by an old woman who would offer her to stay the night. Once inside the house, the old woman would become a witch and devour her. Therefore, a cat around a temples could be the witch in a cat form.
Labels: Utagawa Kuniyoshi