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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 !

Sunday, June 17, 2007

come hither

You've seen them in import shops and Japanese restaurants: little cat statues, usually white with spots, happily holding a paw up to one ear. They are examples of the maneki neko, the beckoning cat, a common good-luck charm in Japan. Left paw raised = beckoning people closer; right paw raised = attracting wealth. They are always appealing objects, and so popular that you think, well, it might just work. I've had one or two in my time.

Though like most luck charms its origins are obscure, you'll see the most maneki neko figures at Japan's Gotokuji Temple, where a beckoning cat was said to save a feudal lord from mishap and thus brought great fortune to its temple home. Here's a story about that with some commentary! And here is a page from a jolly blog with photos of the temple.

There's all different kinds of maneki nekos: this page, from the absolutely fabulous website of a collector, lays it out for you.

1 comment:

seacuke wrangler said...

These are no doubt kamikaze kitties. The "come hither" could be an invitation to breakfast-- as interpreted by my Cairn terrier, Geordie.

I've wanted to rename the things "Hi, Kitchy."