three raccoon dogs with fuzzy fur; bottom animal is scratching; middle animal is seated, snarling; top animal is standing

Three Raccoon Dogs, late 18th century

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2015 Accession Highlight

Celebrated for his depictions of monkeys, Mori Sosen also excelled at capturing the character of other animals. This painting shows a group of three raccoon dogs (tanuki). The naturalistic posing, one scratching itself, seemingly listening, one directly staring at the viewer and the third open-mouthed with its tongue extended, illuminates Sosen’s personal observations of these wild animals. This may be an interpretation of the Chinese proverb typically illustrating monkeys gesturing “Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

three raccoon dogs with fuzzy fur; bottom animal is scratching; middle animal is seated, snarling; top animal is standing