Inu Hariko 犬張子 – "Paper Mache Puppy" – Origin: Tokyo, Asakusa.
Often mistaken as a cat, make no mistake - its a very loyal puppy!
These pups are a symbol of protection, warding evil, & are particuarly good luck for small children & pregnant women: often used as gifts, as part of the Hina-matsuri (Girl's festival) or given to expecting mothers as a luck charm for safe birth!
Inu-Hariko are Pups made out of paper mache (traditionally with the Hariko technique using extra thin layered washi paper on clay or wood.) - These techniques predate the Edo period (approx: 1615–1868) and date back as afar as Muromachi period. (1336-1573) - These sorts of paper mache toys became especially popular during the smallpox epidemics of 1830-1849.
Hariko toys where created with simplicity in mind due to bans on luxury products at the time. (Kids deserve cool toys, no matter whats going on, right?)
Its often said that their eyes are wide and alert to spot danger and bad Yokai!!! - The smallpox kami: Hoso-gami is also especially afraid of dogs, so this puppy worked its way into a number Aka-e & Hoso-e Prints featured along side Daruma & other red toys and was used as part of the "Red Treatment."
They might be mistaken for cats as often as they are, because Asakusa also has a greater number of cat related shrines - See also "maneki neko."
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo thats me!) - Part of my folktoys & charm time sticker collections, weather-resistant 4" Glossy sticker. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more!