japonisme: the coming of the cats

24 December 2006

the coming of the cats

"Two common embodiments of the cat in Japanese mythology are at two extremes. There is the cat god of lightning, a frenzied creature called Raiju, who leaps frantically from tree to tree in a thunderstorm, scratching the trees with its razor-sharp claws and creating the sound of thunder.

Then, there is the cat god of good luck—Maneki Neko, who sits beneficently with its paw raised, and has become absolutely ubiquitous in countless shops and homes. In the complex history of this myth, the gesture of the raised paw may be based on images of cats washing their face—an action they sometimes perform in the company of strangers. At some point, a link was made between a cat washing its face and the presence of visitors; as time went on, it became causal—the sight of a cat washing its face could actually mean visitors were coming. From there came the next step: that a cat washing its face would invite visitors, much like an inviting hand." 1

i am readying the house
for her arrival on tuesday

(i believe the first one is by kuniyoshi, and the second is steinlen.
the third, i think her name may be ruby belle but i have to wait until she tells me.)

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5 Comments:

Anonymous theorist said...

She is darling!!!

I am without cat for the first time in my life. :(

24 December, 2006 11:25  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

so sad!

i could stand it for three months 17.5 years ago, but i was working then. now that i'm essentially retired, i started getting seriously obsessed after only two weeks.

24 December, 2006 11:44  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Merry christmas, Lily. I hope that Maneki Neko purrs contentedly in your lap throughout 2007.

25 December, 2006 10:11  
Anonymous oscar grillo said...

Lotus, Your taste is impeccable.

25 December, 2006 21:18  
Blogger Florence said...

Oh! a new friend. a happpy day for both :D

also, there is also a Japanese folk story about the Vampire Cat...which is a person's troubled spirit coming in the form of a vampiric cat. I might write it up on Crackle Mountain some time.

Happy New Year, Lotus of the Green.

xx

01 January, 2007 03:51  

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