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Maneki-neko cats that beckon a bundle of luck—the earliest type in Japanese history!

"Marushime-no-Neko" Imado-yaki Figurines

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"Marushime-no-Neko" Imado-yaki Figurines
"Marushime-no-Neko" Imado-yaki Figurines
Marushime-no-Neko figurines are a type of clay doll, made in the Imado-yaki style of pottery, that first became popular in the Edo period.
They are easily identified by the mark found on the back of each figurine—a 〆 symbol ("shime") inside a circle ("maru"), hence the name "Marushime." They also have a distinctive pose, seated with the body facing to one side, but the face and beckoning hand facing straight ahead. Like most maneki-neko figurines, they are intended to bring riches and good fortune, and the "shime" in the name also relates to this association. Remarkably, these Marushime-no-Neko figurines are said to be the original form of the maneki-neko—the first beckoning cats ever made!

The figurines you see here are the work of Yoshikazu Yoshida, who has approached the task of reproducing the art of Imado-yaki pottery (which was no longer produced after the war) with great care, using only clay from the Imado region of Tokyo and the same pigments that were used at the time. As there are no masters alive today to pass down the traditional techniques directly, he examined old records of maneki-neko figurines and Imado, painstakingly figuring out the traditional art as part of the creation process.

We have four types of figurine to present today, all modeled on pre-war styles. The figurine with the red bib and its right paw raised is called the "Marushime-no-Neko Pre-1941 Type," and is based on the illustrations found in "Unai no Tomo," a record of traditional toys.
The "Marushime-no-Koban-Neko," with its golden coin that seems sure to bring monetary fortune, and the "Marushime-no-Neko Lie Down Pose," still faithfully raising its hand even in its more relaxed posture, are based on the works of Harukichi "Owariya" Kanazawa (1868–1944), the last true artisan of Imado-yaki clay dolls.
The smaller seated-cat figurine is also based on Harukichi Kanazawa's works. It may be small, but there's nothing small about the luck it might bring!

The biggest appeal of these cat figurines is their sheer presence, which could almost be called rustic in nature. To be frank, "cuteness" isn't really the goal here. But when you hold one in your hand, you will surely appreciate how they bring out the raw materials to their fullest.
Lately, I sometimes find myself wondering what a "souvenir of Japan" or a "souvenir of Tokyo" really entails. But after doing business for two years as a store owner in Yanaka, known as the "cat town" of Tokyo, I can say with confidence that these fine works qualify as true Tokyo souvenirs!

★A Mini Marushime-no-Neko Lesson★ The cats featured in Hiroshige's nishiki-e prints "Joruri-machi Hanka no Zu" ("Flourishing Business in Balladtown," 1852) are said to be the oldest representation of maneki-neko figurines that can be found in records—and the maneki-neko unearthed at the Mizunohara site in Shinjuku are said to bear a strong resemblance to the ones depicted in those prints.

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"Marushime-no-Neko" Imado-yaki Figurines


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Model: usa-UT
Shipping Weight: 0.13Kg
Manufactured by: 今戸焼 吉田義和
Material: Clay

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"Marushime-no-Neko" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines
\"Marushime-no-Neko\" Imado-yaki Figurines


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