Dipping into the past, #2: Maneki-Neko
I made this concrete Maneki-Neko (mostly) in my first art class/workshop in many years, a few years after moving to Port Townsend in 1998. I think the finish painting happened at home after the class.The photo was taken in the back yard of my first home in Port Townsend, but that is a neighbor’s house in the background.
I was inspired by a Seattle Art Museum exhibit poster showing a lovely old Maneki-Neko statue. I am less fond of the ubiquitous commercially made figurines that most of us associate with the term. My Maneki-Neko has aged gracefully, and sits near my studio.
The maneki-neko (Japanese: literally ‘beckoning cat’) is a common Japanese figurine, usually made of ceramic in modern times, which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed—many times at the entrance—in shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning. The maneki-neko is sometimes also called the welcoming cat, lucky cat, money cat, happy cat, or fortune cat in English.