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Gallery 8
Maneki Nekos:  Ceramic & Pottery Lucky Cats
[Note:  Please click on the small pictures below to see larger images.]  [mix02]

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My first Manekineko!   I won this cat at a Memphis Humane Society auction more than a few years ago.  He's light brown with big black spots & a painted-on gold-striped collar.  Earthenware, 11" (28 cm) tall.

A pretty white Beckoning Cat from Down Under!  Painted ceramic, 4.25" (11 cm) tall.  I bought two of them (duplicates) from an Australian seller & sent the other one to Diane in Texas.
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A sweet lil kitty with "JAPAN" embossed on his back.  The green paint is odd, but it kinda grows on you.  2.25" (6 cm) tall, painted gray ceramic.

A pretty Mi-ke M'Neko from Nashville's Cat Shoppe with attached cloth pillow & metal bell.  Height 2 3/4" (7mm), material ceramic, age & maker unknown.

A lovely design.  Red, white, & 3 shades of blue.  Hi-gloss glazed ceramic, 2 3/8" (6 cm) tall, without any marking.  From Anna at the 1986 Memphis Cat Fanciers Cat Show.

This romantic Lucky Cat appears to have been hand-shaped from clay, glazed, and then hand-painted.  He's 2 3/4" tall, comes from Japan, & is signed (?) by the artist on the bottom.

This sweet beckoner is said to be from the Japanese Showa period (1926-1989).  He comes to me from eBayer "softypapa" of Shizuoka, Japan.  Painted ceramic, 5" (12.5cm) tall, unusual.

A happy Waving Cat, mounted on a ceramic tile, from artist John Nishio.  Painted ceramic, 3.5" (9 cm) tall, bought new in Japantown, San Jose, CA, 2004.  Scratched into the underside of the base is "NISHIO / (c)"

From Amie's & Roku's "Old Japan, Inc" store in Boston:  A reproduction of a classic Maneki w/ great ears!  Made in Japan, 8" (20 cm) tall, painted ceramic.  No ID except a paper "Old Japan Inc." price sticker.

A wonderful older cat from eBayer "softypapa" in Japan.  I admire the smooth, almost sensuous, design of this simple-appearing Maneki Neko.  He's solid ceramic, black with red & gold details, 3.3" (8.5cm) in height, and he's signed on the bottom.  Age is unknown, but he's far from new.

An Hawaiian Maneki with a yellow flower & a Green Lizard aboard.  (I don't think the lizard has any significance here other than to show that Lucky Maui's are not particular about who they hang out with.)  A ceramic bank, 6" (15 cm) tall, purchased from an eBayer in Indianapolis, IN.

From the Shiki store in Japantown, this handmade ceramic kitty has an expressive handpainted face & accenting green-glaze spots.  With his spotted, crackly finish & red painted details, I consider him one of the neatest Maneki's that I've ever seen.  Glazed ceramic; 3.25" (8 cm) tall; bought new in San Francisco.  A mark is inside.

A real cutie, this girl is made so that she can rock back & forth on her bottom.  She also has a metal locket which can be opened & can hold two very small photos.  A wonderful gift from Roz.  Height 6.5" (17cm), an unglazed ceramic bank with rubber stopper, marked on the underside with a gold & black "Seven Corporation" sticker and an impressed SC logo.

A 12" (30 cm) tall, plaster (?) Lucky Cat, w/ tricolor patches.  Probably olde, as the NY seller claimed to have acquired him in 1960 & that it wasn't new then.  But there are no marks & few clues:  A tiny round hole in the bottom & a faded red, squarish stain on the front -- probably left by a red cloth bib collar.  There's also a hole between the arm & neck that would have allowed attaching the bib.  [Thanks for the beautiful bib, Tzip!]

A pottery beckoner found by Larry & Barbara in San Francisco (Shiki, Japan Center) and bought for me instead of a crummy ole t-shirt, lol!  He has several different colors of glaze on him, but his most outstanding feature is the ash & sand on the outside, which give him a unique appearance & an interesting texture.  5 1/4" (13.25 cm) tall, bearing an oval silver label on the bottom that says "SAN FRANCISCO  /  SHIKI  /  MADE IN JAPAN".

This happy kitty is a yellow cochin Maneki Neko - one of a limited-edition Seven-Deities set.  1.5" (4 cm), w/o ID, he represents "Ebisu the Fisherman," god of success & abundance.  I bought him new from the Celadon Art Gallery in London.  Cochin ceramics is an art form originating in China but now existing only in Taiwan.  It's a combination of sculpting, glazing & ceramic-making which reminds me of cloisonné without the metal background.

My "Year of the Rat" cat for 2008.  A gift from the family - much appreciated!  This is a "Hakata" doll, crafted in southern Japan & bearing the Hakata seal underneath.  It is made of unglazed pink terracotta clay, not porcelain, for a soft finish & bright colors.

The bottom rat (who's beckoning!) holds a "fuku" coin; the top rat holds a magic hammer; Maneki Neko holds a gold coin.  A tricolor kitty in tan, with unusual black & gold-tone spots.  Height approx 7" (18cm).  Purchased new from an online Japanese dealer.  It has a circular green Hakata sticker & a circular red stamp with 3 Kanji characters on it.


A truly laid-back Beckoner, this guy resembles an adobe brick.  I found him on a "marked down" basement sales table in San Francisco's China Town, 2004.  He's a ceramic bank, 8" (20 cm) long, &, underneath, has a rubber stopper & a round gold "KOTOBUKI  /  SO. SAN FRANCISCO  /  MADE IN JAPAN" sticker.


I think that multiple-sided Nekos are cool.  I bought this guy from Hong Kong eBayer "kailin".  He's 4.25" (10.5 cm) tall, ceramic, & covered with a gray-brown crackly glaze.  A red chop mark is painted onto his glazed, double-holed base.


This worried looking Good-Luck Cat is waving both paws as best he can.  It must have something to do with a sweetheart, as you can tell from the clever cutout in his back.  Everything's been done by hand here - the shaping, painting, & glazing.  He's 1 3/4" tall (3" wide"), made of hardened pottery clay, and comes from Japan.  There's a yellow paper sticker on his left side & a small square impression on his right.

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[1]  An American-style tri-color calico cat.  5" (12.5 cm) tall.  Handpainted by Pat Tyber & made of cast stone from Peter Tyber's original carving.  [Note: This is the original version with a long tail instead of a bobbed one.]  Underneath is painted "TYBER MANEKI NEKO (c)1999 #2 FOR DON MOON".  Purchased directly from Pat

[2]  A black-spotted yellow Lucky Cat called "Tiny Leopard" -- a 2" (5 cm) tall Tyber Neko from TyberKatz.  A surprise gift from Pat Tyber.  ("Mini thanks, Pat!")  Underneath, painted in black, is "TYBER / MANEKI / NEKO / (c)1999".

[3]  Ok, not a Maneki Neko, but still wildly interesting (he beckons in the 4th dimension) -- This is Peter Tyber's "Space Cat".  Cast stone, 6" (15 cm) tall, with the artist's mark & "(c) 1999" scratched into the bottom.  A gift from Pat, who knew that I would like it.  (I'm an SF fan.).

Ceramic Bells, Chimes, and Rattles:

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 [1]  A simple, handmade (?), Lucky Cat zombie from Japan via Boston's "Old Japan, Inc.".  When shaken, he's a pleasant-sounding bell.  Handpainted ceramic; 4.25" (11 cm).  ID: scratches on the bottom (?).

 [2]  A present from my Sister Sue & her family:  A colorful Happy Cat wearing a gentleman's kimono.  Actually a bell - he's made of painted ceramic, sits 3" (8 cm) tall, & has a round gold-&-black sticker underneath (in Japanese).  A big red cloth pillow was included.  From the "Tukami Japanese Dolls & Gifts" webshop, Miyagi, Japan, 2005.

 [3]  A white w/ blue ceramic Maneki-Neko bell w/ a hanging tag ("Luck, luck wind!") & a clapper that turns him into a wind-chime. The cat figurine is 3" (8 cm) tall.  From eBay seller "biggggg" in Honolulu, Hawaii, 2002.

 [4]  A beckoning black bell made of clay with handpainted details.  There's an inscription painted on the back that reads "Kuroji Maneki".  This is a charm to make an accountant's balance sheet come out in the black ("kuroji").  Purchased from "ssc4tansu", made in the 1980's, 2.75" (7 cm) in height, with a bright red cord attached to the back for hanging or holding.


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