May 31, 2012


Hello friends! 

Today, I want to share with you, one of my favorite little treasures I picked up in China Town. He sits upon my kitchen window sill and greets me with that fat cat smiling chubbsy face every time I make coffee or wash dishes. Shops in China Town are busting at the seams with these lucky cat figurines, and I just had to take one home with me! I just had 'ta!! Have you ever just been drawn to something....and you just gotta have it?!

Most of us know this little cat as Chinese Lucky Cat. Well, I did a little research... cause that's what I do!! Inquiring minds want to know! LOL! If you are an inquiring mind, read on!

Chinese Lucky Cat is not actually Chinese in is actually Japanese.  However, with it's popularity in the Chinese culture, is has been mistaken to be Chinese. It has long been believed to bring good luck and fortune to it's owner. Maneki-neko, typically a calico Japanese bobtail,  are often found displayed in the entryway to Chinese restaurants and shops.  Many Japanese lucky cats only have one paw raised,  either left or right. Typically, a raised right paw signifies good luck and wealth, while a raised left paw, is use for luck to bring in customers. Both raised paws means protection for home and business. Many Maneki-neko figurines have battery or solar powered waving arms which, to me, are quite adorable!

Translated, it's name, Maneki-neko, means "beckoning cat." The figurine is also commonly known as, Welcoming Cat, Money Cat, Fortune Cat and Lucky Cat. Most Americans see the cat as waving, but the difference between Asian and Western body language and gestures is quite different. When we, as Americans, raise our hand, palm out, it means we are waving, either saying hello or good bye. In Asian culture, a raised hand, palm out, bending the fingers and opening them again repeatedly, is actually a beckoning signal, meaning, to come, or follow.

The figurines are usually ceramic and come in many different colors and styles...some a little more decorative than others.  The cats traditionally don a collar with a bell, accompanied by an ornate decoration on their belly. Most figurines have the cat holding a gold coin as well, signifying fortune.

Whatever the reason for the raised paws....I just like the little guy for his charm...his fat belly, his great big smile and his cute little bell. Being as luck and Christianity don't really go together, I don't place any credence in the luck it represents.....I just plain ole like him!! There is a huge variety of  adorable Japanese Lucky Cats on the market and I have a feeling I will definitely buy another.  I'll be on the look out now.    P.S. Can anyone interpret these symbols?