The history of the Maneki Neko (pronounced “MA-neck-ee NECK-o”) is long and rich
in Asia, dating back as far as the Edo period (1603-1867) in Japan. Earliest actual documentation comes during Japan’s Meiji Era (1870’s). While the exact origins are
uncertain, numerous interesting legends and folklore tales surround the Maneki Neko’s early days.
These delightful statues are also known as the “Beckoning Cat”, “Lucky Cat” or “Welcoming Cat” and are often found at the entrance to shops, restaurants, and other
businesses throughout the world.
The Maneki Neko are normally ceramic, but can also be found in a number of other mediums such as clay, metal, pottery, wood, plastic, etc. Expensive
ones are found in gold or jade. They come in a large variety of sizes and colors, although the most common is a tri-colored pattern. They can be simply decorated or very ornately hand painted or carved. While the majority are in a sitting position, they can also be found reclining.
The Maneki Neko almost always has a decoration around its neck, with red being the color most often found. Red collars and bells were common on cats belonging to the wealthy during the Edo period.
The collecting of Maneki Nekos is a fulfillng experience with occasional superb finds.
The CFA’s Foundation’s collection includes a combination of both antique and modern Maneki Nekos. Each piece on display is unique and has
its own exceptional qualities.
The Feline Historical Museum, at 260 East Main Street, Alliance, OH is open Tuesday to Friday 10:00am-4:00pm, and Saturday 9:00am-12:00pm.
Watch this Animal Planet video to learn about the legend of the Maneki Neko.
Maneki Neko Exhibit in Bellevue, WA
The Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA,recently had a fabulous antique Maneki Neko exhibit, which was outstanding. Our museum manager saw a portion of this exhibit when it was at San Diego's Mingei Museum ... and visited the Seattle museum for another look at it.