This Japanese Vintage Imari Style Floral 猫 Neko or Cat Ornament or Statue was noted to be about 30 years old when we first added it to our collections. It was a purchase from a collector in the U.S. Based on what I know now, am thinking it dates to the mid-20th century. It is is handmade as far as we know and handpainted in beautiful under and overglae enamels of red, blue green and gold, with a kiku or chrysanthemum and other flowers. It has a gold nose, gold tail and a cute red collar. It is not marked, and I do not believe It is Kutani. It is more Imari style but we do not know who made it. It is in excellent condition with any missing parts, repairs, cracks or chips. It is very well made. This is a beautiful piece. To see our other cat, animal and other okimono or statue, one can search the words "okimono" or "statue" in the top right search field. While this does not represent the typical 'good luck' neko we are used to seeing, it does represent a neko or cat, after all.
SIZE: Approximately Length 5" or 12.7 cm, Width 3" or 7.62 cm, and Height 2.5" or 6.35 cm
猫 Neko in Japan
There are several legends and stories around cats in Japan. None of these are the Maneki-neko Japanese: 招き猫, literally beckoning cat a common Japanese figurine lucky charm, talisman which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. Our one set of these has been kidnapped by our daughter. These are all the style laying down and mostly sleeping.
Another Japanese legend of cats is the bakeneko 化け猫 when a cat lives to a certain age, it grows another tail and can stand up and speak in a human language.According to its name, it is a cat that has changed into a yōkai. It is often confused with the nekomata, another cat-like yōkai, and the distinction between the two can often be quite ambiguous. There are legends of bakeneko in various parts of Japan, but the tale of the Nabeshima Bakeneko Disturbance in Saga Prefecture is especially famous.
My favorite so far; There is also a small cat shrine neko jinja 猫神社 built in the middle of the Tashirojima island. In the past, the islanders raised silkworms for silk, and cats were kept in order to keep the mouse population down because mice are a natural predator of silkworms. Fixed-net fishing was popular on the island after the Edo Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island overnight. The cats would go to the inns where the fishermen were staying and beg for scraps. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. One day, when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fixed-nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island.
Japanese Antique and Vintage Pottery, Porcelain, Netsuke, Masks, Okimono, Tea Items, Jewelry & More!
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