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    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.

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    ©The Cat Fanciers' Association Foundation, Inc., 260 East Main Street, P.O. Box 2155, Alliance, OH 44601
    Photographs copyrighted by Richard Katris, Larry Johnson and Preston Smith. Tel 330-680-4444 | Email info@felinehistoricalfoundation.org

    Incorporated as a not-for profit corporation under laws of the state of New York on June 26, 1990. The foundation has been ruled not a private foundation, and is exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, contributions to the foundation are deductible for Federal income, gift and estate tax purposes.