Friday, February 23, 2007

Pussy Cats Galore!

What can I say. The creators of kitsch and everyday Decorative Stuff love to do cats. They're photogenic and so I have this big collection of cat renditions to display. It's curious -- I'm sure that dogs are more popular, just not as objet d'art.

How about a stained glass cat or two, like these I saw at the Sharlot Hall Museum shop. I'm reminded of one of my favorite characters from the Oz books -- the Glass Cat, a vain and thoughtless creature who was totally transparent.

Some people like cats of this ilk -- fat, furry and very, very self-satisfied. Tain't my preference.

Now this portly, smug cat was owned by a person whose own personality it reflected quite remarkably!

I call this and the next animal Mexicats. I'm not absolutely sure about the upper, but the lower is one of those wildly painted carvings from Oaxaca in a style called Alebrije, meaning imaginary or fantastic. According to an article furnished by The Google,

The carvers are Zapotec Indians who are descendants of the Pre-Columbian Zapotec civilization that reached the height of its development between 200 and 500 AD.

Out of this artistic heritage, an impoverished subsistence farmer named Manuel Jimenez began to carve imaginary creatures in the early 1980's. Fortunately, the outside world discovered and encouraged Jimenez to pursue his art work. The style was quickly adopted by others, and in response to a growing market demand, these woodcarvings have become a family production enterprise with members collaborating and using their combined talents to create these delightful creatures.

These metal cats (above & below), suitable for around the house, were a bitch to photograph, located as they were in a little Whiskey Row shop as crowded with bric-a-brac as a Victorian living room.

Here's a rather scary cat that was sitting in a rocking chair in one of the mural windows over at the high school on Ruth Street.

And this guy I'm really not sure about -- he might be a lap dog. Or a lap cat. On exhibit at one of the arts & crafts fairs at the Square last summer.

Actually, this is another Mexicat who sits in my living room. Though a plaster animal, he's painted in a turista version of the classic Talavera style, which was brought to Mexico from Spain in the 17th century.

Alright, already -- I am finally running out of cats. For closers, a splendid Kliban cartoon on the Miss Kitty T-shirt above and a painting that blends in with the reflected street scene over on Gurley. Sort of a first cousin to the disappearing Cheshire cat.

FYI: Welcome, readers of the Friday Ark and the Carnival of Cats; please feel free to make comments. Anybody who's into cats, dogs or other animal pets in any way should take a look at the listings over at the Ark and at the Carnival, which were kind enough to list this post. There's more feline blogging here if you click on the label below.


catalyst said...

No, Granny J, dogs are not as popular as cats . . . at least not in this blogger's heart. Great pictures. Thanks! (I put a link to them on my blog.)

Granny J said...

Thanks for the link, Mr. Cat-alyst (should have known your point of view, from the name!) While we're on the subject of cats as objet d'art, there's a new post at Snopes that skewers the Painted Cats phenom,
The pictures have been circulating again & some are splendid designs!

catalyst said...

Oh, no! I have both of those books. I'm appalled that I got taken in.

Granny J said...

I didn't buy the books, but I've seen the pictures here and there on the net. I took it for granted that they were real, though I wondered how on earth they were done. Now I know. Digitally.

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