As the name for “cat” in Chinese is mao and is a homophone “age eighty to ninety” or octogenarian, it is a Chinese longevity symbol and Its use in ceramics and art is a wish for long life. Porcelain cats are a welcome gift for any reason, especially birthdays. Cats are also considered lucky and are sometime portrayed on or seated next to a longevity stone to emphasize their octogenarian meaning. According to legend, Buddhist monks brought cats to China to protect their possessions from mice and rats. The Chinese also used pictures of cats to protect and ward off danger to precious silkworms which is why Patricia Bjaaland Welch suggests one often sees stunning embroideries of cats in contemporary Chinese gift and department stores.

Terese Tse Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, San Francisco, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006, p. 162.

Patricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Rutland, Tuttle Publishing, 2008, p. 92.

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  • Porcelain Cat Teapot, Chinese Republic (19420C-VAS) $135

    H: 7.25”  W: 8”  D: 4” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This porcelain rotund cat teapot has a raised paw to poured tea, a removable head to add water and long sinuous tail  handle. He is whimsically and finely hand painted with colorful designs: blue for the ribbon-like collar, pink, green, black and blue accents on the face and head and green streaks on its coat and tail.

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