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 !

Monday, September 18, 2017

member of the wedding

Your friendly Curator was off on a weekend full of art openings (one) and lovely wedding celebrations (two).  At the first wedding, there were groomsmen, bridesmaids...and a groomsdog and bridesdog.  Up above, a reflective snap taken after the ceremony, as the bridesdog reflects upon Life and Happily Ever After, or perhaps simply didn't feel like getting up.

Friday, September 15, 2017

a saint bernard for showing off

Rug - Saint Bernard dog, circa 1885, Wellington, by Mary Hannah Tyer.
Bequest of Mrs Mary H. Quin, 1956. 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (PC000250/1)
Be sure to click on the image above and see if you can get a better look at this rug.  Meticulously crafted in 1885, it has a high level of detail - the dog even has a glass bead for its eye.  You won't be surprised that this lovely object was called out for special praise at the 1885 New Zealand Industrial Exhibition.  You may be surprised that this was crafted by a teenager: 15-year-old Mary Tyer.
There's an interesting larger history about this rug; its creation was encouraged by a government that believed in the creativity of New Zealanders both inside and outside the home.  Read an enjoyable essay on Mary, her rug, and the Industrial Exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand) here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

wordless vintage wednesday redux

another rerun from the collection

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

how to bet on a cat and win

thanks pixabay (PD)
From Charles H. Ross's curious collection of cat stories (1868): a story, very likely apocryphal, on how to bet on cats and win.
It is stated in a Japanese book that the tip of a Cat's nose is always cold, except on the day corresponding with our Midsummer-day. This is a question I cannot say I have gone into deeply. I know, however, that Cats always have a warm nose when they first awaken from sleep. All Cats are fond of warmth. I knew one which used to open an oven door after the kitchen fire was out, and creep into the oven. One day the servant shut the door, not noticing the Cat was inside, and lighted the fire. For a long while she could not make out whence came the sounds of its crying and scratching, but fortunately made the discovery in time to save its life. A Cat's love of the sunshine is well known, and perhaps this story may not be unfamiliar to the reader :—
One broiling hot summer's day Charles James Fox and the Prince of Wales were lounging up St. James's street, and Fox laid the Prince a wager that he would see more Cats than his Royal Highness during their promenade, although the Prince might choose which side of the street he thought fit. On reaching Piccadilly, it turned out that Fox had seen thirteen Cats and the Prince none. The Prince asked for an explanation of this apparent miracle.
"Your Royal Highness," said Fox, "chose, of course, the shady side of the way as most agreeable. I knew that the sunny side would be left for me, and that Cats prefer the sunshine."
Ross, C. H. 1842?-1897. (1868). The book of cats: a chit-chat chronicle of feline facts and fancies, legendary, lyrical, medical, mirthful and miscellaneous. London, England: Griffith and Farran. 61-2.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

riotous drapery

yale university art gallery (PD)
Around 1720-30 some nameless artist created this oil portrait of "A Hudson Valley Lady with Dog and Parrot."  There's a charming primitive feel to this work, though drapery was definitely the painter's strong point.  Stop and look at how that pink wrap is so animated it's practically a player in and of itself.  Now we're going to see the parrot. . .

Sort of pigeon-y, this parrot, but I like him.  Speaking of animated. . .

. . .that dog has been caught in mid-flail, wanting that parrot so badly.  What a charming, funny scene.  Whomever the lost painter might have been, I hope he (or she!) enjoyed the work.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

vintage wordless wednesday redux

that's right, another rerun from the collection :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

asante proverbs: a dog's thoughts lie in his chest

Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to share some Asante proverbs with you.  Here's some from a collection originally published in 1879.
The dog which has gone a hunting has not had any luck, so what can the cat (hope to) do?

When your dog says he will catch an elephant for you, he is deceiving you.

A dog's thoughts lie in his chest, but not in his head. (That is, he is always barking (talking) and never keeps anything to himself.)

If you take a dog (i.e. a quarrelsome, noisy person) as a relation, tears will never dry in your eyes.

The dog has a proverb which runs, 'A big thing does not get lost'.

Had the cat only some one to help it, it would be sharper even than the dog.

No one teaches a cat how to look into a calabash.

Even if the mouse were the size of a cow, he would be the cat's slave nevertheless.

All animals sweat, but the hair on them causes us not to notice it. - The saying is used in the sense that a rich or powerful man can bear losses or troubles better than a poor one, though both may equally have their worries.
-- from Rattray, R. S. 1881-1938. Ashanti Proverbs: the Primitive Ethics of a Savage People. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1916. 87-94 passim.  What an awful title.

Monday, September 04, 2017

a foolish mouse, a cat's back

Designated Purchase Fund and Carll H. de Silver Fund, www.brooklynmuseum.org. PD
This is the top, or finial, of a staff created sometime in the 20th century. (You can see more photos of it here at the Brookyn Museum's website.)  It was carried by a particular sort of royal official among the Fante culture of Ghana and the Ivory Coast of Africa.  When I tell you that the official was known as an okyeame - a "linguist," that is, a king's spokesman - you won't be surprised to learn that this small scene illustrates a proverb, as linguist staffs of that period often did.  We're looking at a cat with a mouse climbing onto its back, which is a bad move for any mouse anywhere I'd imagine.  That's borne out by the matching proverb: "It is only a foolish mouse that tries to get into the cat's bag," or, lesser people shouldn't dare to mess with royal business.
Here's another okyeame staff at the Art Institute of Chicago which illustrates the proverb "The hen knows when it is dawn, but leaves it to the rooster to announce.”  Fante culture was found within the greater context of Asante civilization, and Asante visual art has a lot of interplay with its verbal arts.  Their proverbs are fascinating and vivid.  I'll share some more with you tomorrow.