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Elements of Japanese Figurines – Maneki Neko


Definitions and significance of items Maneki Nekos are often posed with or holding.
Brinjal is a purple radish frequently used in stir fries and other meals. It has decorated several Maneki Neko figurines, though it is still fairly unusual. It is a fairly obscure symbol signifying good fortune, plenty and bountiful .
Daruma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, who transmitted Zen Buddhism to China from India. It’s said that he sat in meditation so long that he lost the use of his legs. Daruma have only white eyes when purchased. One fills in the first eye when a resolution or wish is made, and paints in the second eye when the goal is achieved. The Daruma Doll or Wishing Doll is said to have the ability to make wishes come true.
Koban is a gold coin common in the Edo period or Japan. The denomination of Koban was worth one ryo (think of one ryo of equivalent to roughly one thousand dollars), an
early Japanese monetary unit. Most Koban being held by Maneki Neko in modern days, depicts ten million ryo, which is representative of a considerable fortune, financial prosperity, as well as an easy life.
Fish especially the carp, symbolises strength, courage and determination, associated with the will and strength required to swim upstream. The fish in the paws of Maneki Neko figurines may also symbolise abundance and good fortune, because what could a lucky cat possibly be more than happy other than to have a big, fresh, delicious fish !
Hyotan is a hollowed out dried Gourd in which Sake (Rice Wine) and other beverages were traditionally kept. Fukurokuju the god of wisdom and longeivity, is one of the seven lucky gods of Japan. He is frequently posed with a hyotan drinking vessel, which may have led to their being associated with luck. Gourds in general are also considered to ward of evils and bring good luck, which may contribute to Hyotan appearng in the paws of Maneki Neko.
Uchide Nokozuchi otherwise known as a magic Money Mallet, is a lucky charm that is thought to protect and shield and bring wealth to one who shakes it. It is usually seen in the hand of Daikoku Mantra, the god of wealth and farmers, who was fortunate enough to have coins fall out of his magic money mallet, every time he shook it, but some Maneki Neko figurines were luck enough to get one on their paws too !
Money Bag obviously a bag filled with lots of money, symbolising overwhelming of wealth .
Mount Fuji symbolises family reunion and support from people around us in time of crisis.
Tortoise symbolises longevity and healthy.
Prosperity Fan symbolises business or career overwhelming.
Bamboo Shoot symbolises ever-growing and sprouting in business, career or education.
Red-Crowned Crane symbolises pink of health.
Flower Petal symbolises good affinity and concrete relationship among people.
Treasure Boat symbolises smooth sailing in business, career, love or education.
Crystal ball, gem or a marble can often be found in the paws of more modern Maneki Nekos. it is indicating wealth (in the form of a valuable gem), wisdom (in the form of a crystal ball used by psychics and mystics)
Drum symbolises overwhelming of customers flood the shop.
Book & Pen symbolises guardian watching over one’s education and academic improvements.
Peach symbolises one’s achievement in career and love.
Eagle is an auspicious symbolism, so called-the fortune bird or night guidance to ward of evils and watching over one’s studies and wisdom.
As word of the events spread, people began placing figures of Cats sitting infront of the windows and entrances of Asian shops, restaurants, homes, temples, casino or offices, believing it would bring in some kind of prosperity into their own lives.


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