Title: Mice Burying the Cat
Date of Publication: Late 17th – first quarter of the 18th century. The imprint was issued in the 1760s.
Technique: Hand-coloured woodcut.
Size: 32,8 sm by 57,3 sm. Produced from two wooden blocks on two sheets, then pasted together end-to-end.
Origin: Russia, Pggodin Collection, National Library of Russia
The Mice Burying the Cat was extremely popular subject for lubok (woodcuts) in Russia. Over more than two centuries of its history, it has appeared in different variants and copies of the same print, produced in a variety of techniques: engravings, lithographs and chromolithographs. The origins of the lubok topic are obscure.
It has been commonly thought this plot is a caricature of Peter the Great’s burial, authored by his opponents. The caption above the cat reads: “The Cat of Kazan, the Mind of Astrakhan, the Wisdom of Siberia” (a parody of the title of Russian Czars). It has been claimed by modern researchers that this is simply a representation of carnivalesque inversion, “turning the world upside down”.
It is more likely an illustration from a folk-tale. This is the only surviving copy of the print and the earliest picture with this subject.
More about woodcuts (kinda interesting)
More about lubok (really interesting)
Both genres, pictures, and literature, are commonly referred to as simply “lubok”. The Russian word “lubok” itself means a piece of bast and refers to a simple technique of woodcut from bast of the linden tree, which used to be a common material in Russia for manufacturing various items.
FrenchTwist sent me this.