Maneki Neko | Mingei International Museum
Image: Image of Maneki Nekos from the permanent collection of Mingei International Museum. Photo by Lynton Gardiner.

On View

Mar 13, 2011 - Jan 15, 2012

Curated By

Alan Scott Pate

The exhibition was funded in part by The County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.

On display were selections from a collection of 155 cats given to the Museum two years ago by collector Billie Moffitt. Made in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, each cat was unique. Most were made of clay, but some are wood, metal, ceramic and papier mâché.

Since the Edo period (1603-1868) a fabricated cat with a paw upraised in the Japanese gesture of beckoning has been considered a good luck charm, drawing good fortune to individuals and businesses. Maneki neko are common sights in local Japanese and Chinese restaurant windows, where they silently beckon to potential customers.

Asian art expert Alan Scott Pate has written the first major work in any language on this beguiling facet of Japanese folk art. A volume of the same name as the exhibition accompanied the exhibition.

On March 12, Alan Scott Pate, guest curator and author of the eponymous publication that accompanies the exhibition, gave a lecture on the history, lore and legend of Maneki neko.

Plan your Visit

Please note: The Museum will be closed Monday, July 4.