This is the Chinese Year - of - the - Rabbit horoscope. If you were born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987 you would be a 'rabbit'. When Buddha lay dying, he summoned the animals to bid them farewell. The cow was the first to hasten to the scene but the rat, riding on the cow's back, jumped off and arrived first. Thus the rat became the first animal in the Asian zodiac, a cycle of twelve years that assigns a different animal to each year. A person is thought to take on characteristics of the animal representing the year in which she or he was born. Since nature is the source of all art and design in Japan, you can find animals depicted in many of their art forms.
Those that are born in the year of the rabbit are considered articulate, talented and ambitious. They are often lucky.
Netsuke are miniature sculptures invented in 17th century Japan. They were first used as 'toggles' to help close bags that Japanese men wore to carry around their belongings.
Eventually, netsuke became a highly honored art form.
You can find more of Kris Hargis' drawings at this gallery in Portland, OR here.
Geoffrey Gorman creates his animal sculptures from all sorts of materials.
Find more of his wonderful sculptures at his website here.
"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way." --- Winnie the Pooh