About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, February 24, 2017

sir bat-ears, the dog of the poor

From a slim volume of verse dated 1918, a gentle story of a dog who gives his patient love to the old folks living in the care of the parish.

Sir Bat-Ears
Sir Bat-Ears was a dog of birth
- And bred in Aberdeen,
But he favoured not his noble kin
And so his lot is mean,
And Sir Bat-ears sits by the alms-houses
On the stones with grass between.

Under the ancient archway
His pleasure is to wait
Between the two stone pine-apples
That flank the weathered gate;

And old, old alms-persons go by,
All rusty, bent and black
“Good day, good day, Sir Bat-ears!”
They say and stroke his back.

And old, old alms-persons go by,
Shaking and wellnigh dead,
“Good night, good night, Sir Bat-ears!"
They say and pat his head.

So courted and considered
He sits out hour by hour,
Benignant in the sunshine
And prudent in the shower.

(Nay, stoutly can he stand a storm
And stiffly breast the rain,
That rising when the cloud is gone
He leaves a circle of dry stone
Whereon to sit again.)

A dozen little door-steps
Under the arch are seen,
A dozen aged alms-persons
To keep them bright and clean;

Two wrinkled hands to scour each step
With a square of yellow stone—-
But print-marks of Sir Bat-ears' paws
Bespeckle every one.

And little eats an alms-person,
But, though his board be bare,
There never lacks a bone of the best
To be Sir Bats-ears’ share.

Mendicant muzzle and shrewd nose,
He quests from door to door;
Their grace they say, his shadow grey
Is instant on the floor—
Humblest of all the dogs there be,
A pensioner of the poor.

-- Eden, H. Parry. (1918). Coal and candlelight and other verses. London: J. Lane. 15-18.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2 young ones

www.metmuseum.org. Rogers Fund, 1913
Puppies and babies: best buddies since time immemorial, or at least in this case since sometime in the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD.  The Met has this little bronze as "Greek or Roman," and it's true that during that stretch of time the two cultures were interleaving to a deep extent.  The realism and warmth you see here is as fresh as anything you might create today.  In fact, I'm surprised at how pudgy and winsome the unknown artist managed to make that puppy, since "cute" is not the first adjective generally springing to mind when one thinks about the Greco-Romans.

Monday, February 20, 2017

a cymbal-ic cat

Book of Hours, Cat beating cymbal,
from a marginal cycle of images of the funeral of Renard the Fox,
Walters Manuscript W.102, fol. 78v detail
This whiskery fellow chimes his way along a margin in a Book of Hours held by the Walters Art Museum.  On adjoining pages, other creatures also march along in character, and all together they become a fanciful funeral procession for Reynard the Fox.  The book, dating from late 13th-century England, is neither complete nor bound correctly, and as a result it's not known which prosperous soul got to enjoy this jolly embellishment to their devotions.
Here's the entire page if you'd like to spot our cymbalist above.
Here's one of his fellows, a dog with a set of bagpipes made out of...is that what I think it is?
Here's the whole book page by page if you're curious and want to find more!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

a timeless rabbit

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1904.203a-b (noncommercial use permitted, the Freer and Sackler Galleries)
I couldn't resist sharing this clever creature.  Any guesses when it was made?  I thought at first glance it was a contemporary craft item, but no - it's from the mid-17th century.  This streamlined, ear-enhanced bun is an incense holder bearing the namestamp of the master of Japanese Kyoto ware, Nonomura Ninsei (active 1646-1677).  Kyoto ware are high-fired ceramics and porcelain created in that city, glazed in enamels and made to be used domestically.  Ninsei, unlike domestic ceramic artists before him, used thick monochrome enamel glaze on stoneware, and signed his work.  Of particular note in his tea bowls is the neat skill of their feet, the round projections on which they sit; not something you see in this incense holder, but I am still impressed by those dainty rabbit paws.
Learn more about Nonomura Ninsei here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

neko face

Gift of Charles Lang Freer (noncommercial use permitted, the Freer and Sackler Galleries)

Here we have the incomparable Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849) with a little sketch he dashed off in ink on paper around 1810.  This is a work that would fall under the style of ukiyo-e, that is, focusing on the actors, entertainers and courtesans of the cities.  Every so often, one finds a cat (neko in Japanese) co-starring, as with our smug buddy below:

Head over to this site for a thorough look online at Hokusai's life and work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

be our valentine

thanks vintageimages.org  (PD)
Oh behave!
Happy Valentine's Day, Museum friends!