The Maneki Neko comes in a wide variety of traditional colors and styles, each representing a different lucky subject. Calicos are for general luck, Red and Pink for love and romance, Black for protection from evil, Gold for prosperity and White for a positive future.
There are many stories about the origin of the Lucky Maneki Neko figurine, but here is my favorite:
A wealthy feudal lord was taking shelter under a tree near Gotoku-ji temple during a thunderstorm. The lord saw the temple priest's cat beckoning to him and followed; a moment later the tree was struck by lightning. The wealthy man became friends with the poor priest and the temple became prosperous. When the cat died, supposedly the first Maneki Neko was made in his honor.
The Beckoning Cat, also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money cat or Fortune Cat, are most often depicted as a Japanese Bobtail cat, a cat with a tail somewhat like a rabbit's. They also come with long tails, right or left paws raised, both paws raised, and with the paw facing backwards for Western audiences.
♥ This calico kitty has a long tail, red collar with white detail and a silver bead "bell", green kerchief, and black seed bead nose and eyes. He raises his right paw in the forward Japanese beckoning gesture. He features three layers of pretty glossy protective glaze for durability and longevity. He also comes with an 18-inch 2mm cherry-red PVC cord with a sterling silver clasp and a faux-suede gift bag or gift tin upon adoption.♥
Details such as the painted claws, whiskers and spots were hand-painted by a family of fairies I have living in a shoebox. I pay them in maple sugar candy! It takes four days of repeated painting, sealing and drying to create one of these inch-high lucky critters.
These collectible animal pals are about the size of a US quarter. You will receive the design described, but not necessarily the exact item pictured. I don't use molds so every Animini in a series has his or her own personality; they are individually sculpted and painted by hand with details added with a straight pin.