China Cat Sunflower

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Played by the Dead from 1968 to 1995, almost invariably seguing into I Know You Rider. More recently played by The Other Ones, Ratdog and Phil & Friends.

Look for a while at the China Cat Sunflower
proud-walking jingle in the midnight sun
Copper-dome bodhi drip a silver kimono
like a crazy-quilt star gown
through a dream night wind

Chorus (note a)
China cat
China cat
China cat
China cat

Krazy Kat peeking through a lace bandana
like a one-eyed Cheshire
like a diamond-eyed jack
A leaf of all colors plays
a golden string fiddle
to a double-e waterfall over my back


Comic book colors on a violin river
crying Leonardo words
from out a silk trombone
I rang a silent bell
beneath a shower of pearls
in the eagle winged palace
of the queen Chinee

Robert Hunter played Saint Stephen>Alligator>China Cat Sunflower>The Eleven>China Cat Sunflower on 18 March 2003 to illustrate how the songs had originally been conceived. This included what seems to be an extra verse to "China Cat Sunflower" just before "The Eleven":
Come out of the snow into my single-room cabin
There you're sitting with your windows wide open
And the sound of doors collapsing in the breeze
And the sound of violins
(a) the chorus appears in the studio version, but was dropped very early on in live performances (if indeed it was ever played live).

Grateful Dead Recordings

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Weir-Robinson-Greene Trio Live!

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!

Mickey Hart Downloads

Other Recordings

Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2 (guitar TAB)
          Without A Net Songbook (piano arrangement)
          Hundred Year Hall songbook (guitar TAB)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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