Archive for May 20th, 2016

May 20, 2016

Beckoning Cat

lucky cat by Molly Brooks

The maneki-neko (Japanese: ‘beckoning cat’) is a common Japanese figurine (lucky charm, talisman) which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In modern times, they are usually made of ceramic or plastic. The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed in—often at the entrance of—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.

Maneki-neko come in different variations. Common colors are white, black, gold and sometimes red. In addition to figurines, maneki-neko can be found as keychains, piggy banks, air fresheners, house-plant pots, and miscellaneous ornaments, as well as large statues. It is also sometimes called the ‘Chinese lucky cat’ due to its popularity among Chinese merchants.

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