Lucky Cat

I’ve often seen these cat figures in Japanese and Chinese restaurants, but never thought about them very much. I came across this one in the window of an insurance agent in my village. I guessed that there might be some meaning to them so I looked them up:

Fortune Cat is known as Maneki Neko in Japanese, which means “beckoning cat.” The cat has its paw raised as if it’s waving in good fortune for its owners. Other common monikers include Lucky Cat, Money Cat, Waving Cat and Welcoming Cat.
No one can quite agree as to how the first Maneki Neko came to be. However, most will agree that Lucky Cats first appeared during the Edo period in Japan (17th century to mid-19th century).

There are a couple of popular legends about the origins of the Maneki Neko. The first tells of a wealthy man who took shelter from a rainstorm under a tree next to a temple. He noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him, so he followed it inside the temple. Shortly thereafter, lightning struck the tree he had been standing under. Because the cat had saved his life, the man was so grateful, he became a benefactor of the temple and brought it much prosperity. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was made in his honor.

Another common legend surrounding the Maneki Neko is a really peculiar one. A geisha had a pet cat that she adored. One day, it was tugging at her kimono and the owner of the brothel thought the cat was possessed, so he sliced off its head with a sword. (Yeah, gruesome! No cats were harmed in the writing of this article.) The flying cat head landed on a snake about to strike and the fangs killed the snake and saved the woman. The geisha was so distraught by the loss of her cat that one of her customers made a statue of the cat to cheer her up.
There’s actually a meaning behind which paw the Maneki Neko cat is holding up. If it’s the left paw, this is supposed to attract customers. If the right paw is raised, this invites good fortune and money.

They both sound pretty good to me, which is why sometimes you can find a Fortune Cat with both of its paws in the air. Two paws up can also represent protection.

While you’ll most commonly see a white Maneki Neko with orange and black spots, there are quite a few color variations of the Maneki Neko and they each have a special meaning.

1. Calico: Traditional color combination, considered to be the luckiest
2. White: Happiness, purity and positive things to come
3. Gold: Wealth and prosperity
4. Black: Wards off evil spirits
5. Red: Success in love and relationships
6. Green: Good health

Maneki Neko is a finely dressed cat usually adorned with a bib, collar and bell. In the Edo period, it was common for wealthy people to dress their pet cats this way; a bell was tied to the collar so that owners could keep track of their cats’ whereabouts.
Fortune Cat figurines often holding other things in their paws. These include:

1. A koban worth one ryo: This is a Japanese coin from the Edo period; a ryo was considered to be quite the fortune back then.
2. The magic money mallet: If you see a small hammer, this represents wealth. When shaken, the mallet is supposed to attract wealth.
3. A fish, most likely a carp: The fish is symbolic of abundance and good fortune.
4. A marble or gem: This is another money magnet. Some people believe it’s a crystal ball and represents wisdom.

Lucky Cats can also be found holding gourds, prayer tablets, daikon radishes and ingots. These items also represent wealth and good luck. (Adapted from “5 Interesting Facts About Maneki Neko Cats AKA Lucky Cats

This one has its left paw raised (to attract customers); it’s white (signifying happiness, purity and positive things to come) and it’s carrying what I think is a koban worth one ryo: This is a Japanese coin from the Edo period; a ryo was considered to be quite the fortune back then.

You live and learn.

Taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikon AF Nikkor 28-80 f3.3-5.6

A walk around Hastings-on-Hudson. Another statue.

This statue is “Between Heaven and Earth” by the famous Hastings sculptor Jacques Lipchitz and it’s located on a grassy area between the Municipal Building and the Public Library (1966).

A plaque on its base reads:

BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH

JACQUES LIPCHITZ
1891-1973

PRESENTED IN 1969 BY THE SCULPTOR
TO HIS ADOPTED HOMETOWN OF
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, NY

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

A walk around Hastings-on-Hudson. An Eagle

A cast aluminum eagle originally perched atop the Municipal Building’s pediment. It had to be removed because of its weight. It’s now located on the terrace outside the main entrance.

The plaque on the base reads:

To commemorate
the centennial of
the village of
Hastings-on-Hudson
Incorporated
November 18, 1879

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II