The breadth of objects made in the shapes of animals is as wide as the animal kingdom itself. Animal lovers surround themselves with porcelain figurines of cats, dogs, and horses from the likes of Royal Doulton and Lefton; art glass pieces shaped liked roosters and owls; and stuffed plush animals, whether they are tagged as Steiff or left unsigned as lovable teddy bears.

Every culture has unique relationships with its animals, often expressed in objects. People in China place foo lions (sometimes called foo dogs) in front of homes to signify the status of the people living inside, while Hindus in Indian revere a white elephant named Airavata, who bears the god Indra on its back. Other animals are used as bait for hunters (frog fishing lures to attract bass, duck decoys to attract real ducks). But in the 21st century, it’s the fictional animals that keep most of us amused, from a dog named Snoopy to a mouse named Mickey.


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