Sleeping Cat Nemuri-Neko. The figure of a sleeping cat has a special meaning and status in Japan and in Japanese art. Nemuri-neko [眠猫] is Japanese for sleeping or peaceful cat but it also is the name of a famous sculpture of such a cat in the Shinto Tosho-gu shrine in Nikko, Japan and has been an inspiration to Japanese artists. The first time I came accross such a sleeping cat figurine was in the house of Claude Monet in Giverny (now a museum). He had a special interest for Japanese art and received a sleeping cat figurine as a present from a Japanese. It lay very peacefully and cozyly on a cushion in the dining room and I found it very striking. I kept it in mind and later on bought one myself and now used it as a model for a watercolour.