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ARCHITECTURE & ICONOGRAPHY

  

 

 

  Maneki-neko

 

Thailand

Maneki-neko, i.e. the ‘Beckoning Cat’. According to legend, the wooden house of an old woman in Tokyo caught fire one day. Unaware of what was happening, her cat beckoned the old woman to follow her outside, using her paw. Curious of what the cat was up to the lady followed outside and was consequently saved from burning to death. Hence, figurines of a beckoning cat are believed to bring good luck.

 

Later on, statues of a beckoning cat that makes a welcoming gesture with one paw, often holding an ancient coin with the other, appeared. They are said to invite happiness and good fortune, its meaning dependent on its colour. Thus, a white cat invites happiness whilst a golden cat brings richness. If its left paw is raised it invites prosperity.

 

  Maneki-neko