CN/ JP/ ID/ MX/ LA
China (CN)/ Japan (JP)/ Indonesia (ID)/ Mexico (MX)/ Latin America (LA)
China has an ancient pottery and porcelain tradition. This also includes piggy banks. In my collection are specimens from the years 1948-1955 and recent ones from 2006. None of them have a hallmark, the oldest has a label indicating the origin.
Japan for me is known for its ceramics (such as Imari porcelain), textiles, lacquerware, swords and dolls, the famous tea ceremony, ikebana, martial arts, calligraphy, origami, geisha and games (nowadays such as Nintendo). But do they also have a thing for pigs? And piggy banks? Sure, pigs to start with: Surprisingly, the most popular type of meat in Japan is pork. It finds more sales than beef and chicken combined. This tradition dates back to the days when Japan was a poor and agricultural country. The Samurai named pigs “walking vegetable”. According to history, they owed their legendary strength and stamina to their diet with a large proportion of pork. Of course, Japan also perfected the breeding of pigs. The most acclaimed species is kurobuta. This black pig from Kagoshima is not originally Japanese It is a direct descendant of the Old English black Berkshire breed.
And piggybanks? I know for years that they also make piggy banks and mainly for export. If it “says” "Foreign" under it, they have been exported as a ready-made product, if it says "import" below, it is a semi-finished product that is to be finished in the country that ordered it.
Where I can often trace the provenance of other piggy banks, I have no clue whatsoever for the Japanese piggy banks. They are both kitschy (in not Japanese eyes!), beautiful and most of the piggy banks are made of porcelain!
Trowulan (Java) is surrounded by an archaeological site of the capital city of the Majapahit Empire from the 14th to the 15th century. Excavations have found evidence of dense population during the 14th to 15th centuries. Terracotta figurines, amongst them piggy banks, were produced in large quantities. The Majapahit piggy banks (not for children!) were used to put coins in as offering to the gods. These very thin bronze Chinese coins were found during excavations in large numbers. I have serious doubt about the age of my 5 Majapahit piggy banks: I think they are copies.
Pigs (pig piggy banks) in Indonesia? You have to explain that. The Majapahit was a Hindu-Buddhist empire from c. 1293 to c. 1530, with the centre on East Java, in what is now Indonesia. From the 13th century, Islam very slowly spread across Indonesia. It is believed that with the end of the Majapahit Empire and with the final destruction of the capital in 1527, the production of terracotta was stopped. After all, the sultanates were now ruled by Islamic rulers, and as a result of the Islamic 'image hostility' there was no longer a need for terracotta figures, let alone piggy banks. Much was broken in those days, no wonder that most of the terracotta statues and piggy banks that we can still see are often broken. But much has also been buried in places where rice or tobacco was later grown. And there was found again in the 20th century. What remains of the Majapahit culture has been recognized as heritage and is now on display in and near the Trowulan Museum.
These piggy banks are outstanding because of the bracket and light weight. Before the great earthquake in 1985 in the Oxfam shops one could frequently buy Mexican piggy banks. On the origin and utility of the bracket it is guessing. The simplest explanation is that the piggy banks were hung up on the ceiling. Who has the correct answer, may say so (mail me, nobody did it for the last decade......).
Via Marktplaats (Dutch auction site ), a beautiful and large (31 cm high) piggy bank came from the stock of Kringloop Deuroe Veuroe in Nieuwleusen (between Zwolle and Dalfsen). Terracotta folk art no doubt (?) made in MEXICO.
An overview of what is in my collection coming from Latin America: piggy banks from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru.