The Illustrated Rat’s Tale (Nezumi no sōshi emaki), an anonymous Japanese picture scroll created between 1550–1650, depicts a rat wedding banquet, and for a period with few other visual references of cooking, it is an important source for understanding the staff and procedures for food preparation in elite warrior households, which it emulates. The wedding party of the rat lord takes inspiration from the festivities for late medieval (1400–1600) warlords, and it includes rodent equivalents of the great performers and cultural influencers of the age. Analysis reveals the gendered division of labor and status in the duties of food preparation in a late medieval (rodent) warrior household with male chefs in charge of flavoring and carving at the top of the kitchen hierarchy and female servants performing manual labor outside at the bottom. For both rats and humans, the picture scroll further demonstrates that food played a powerful role in the representation of authority.

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