Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Cabinet of Curiosities: PIGS

P1010205 The Cabinet of Curiosities

I started collecting pig figurines (using that word makes me feel like a little old lady or Miss Havisham), banks, boxes, planters and so on over 20 years ago.  I am not sure why pigs became the focus of a collection for me.  I do find pigs visually appealing in terms of their usually gigantic stature and pink, brown or black skin.  They are also extremely intelligent and even taste good especially a nice pork chop.

Perhaps, it was my reading of Charlotte’s Web in elementary school and seeing the subsequent animated film that sparked my interest.  Or maybe it was reading Animal Farm in junior high school in which pigs took over the farm and controlled the other animals with their intelligence and ruthlessness.  Both of these novels could be the origin of my gnawing pig desire that finally emerged in me, causing a grown man to have a display cabinet filled with these creatures- some valuable, some quite inexpensive in varying shapes, sizes, colors, materials and narratives.

But here I must insert a word of WARNING.  If you collect something as general as pigs (or owls or cats) and not something more specific like 19th century American silver aesthetic flatware, people around you feel quite happy and obligated to buy you any pig sh*t that they can find.  Keep it a secret if you can.  For each pig I own now, there are about 3 others languishing in a thrift shop somewhere or in a landfill.

This state of affairs got so bad that I had to announce a pig moratorium.  No more pigs please!  Only my dear friend H____ can now buy me pigs because she always finds unusual and fun ones.  None have wound up in a landfill.  She is my official pig buyer.  And in actuality I rarely buy pigs for myself anymore.

So, here are a bunch of pigs that reside in my cabinet of curiosities.


P1010193 Wild Boar by Herend

P1010195 Imari Pig by Royal Crown Derby

P1010194 Nodding Head Pig, German, circa 1930’s

P1010191 Pig in a Hot Air Balloon?, German, 1920’s-30’s

P1010192 Pig Buddha

P1010196 4 Miniature Glass Pigs


P1010190 The Wise Pig Bank

P1010238 Pig Bursting Through A Drum Bank

P1000194 I Love Money Pig Bank

P1010239 Pig with a Beauty Mark Bank

Other Pigs

P1010240 Pig Salt & Pepper, Japanese, 1930’s

P1010197 Japanese Pig Key Chain

P1010199 Pig Pitcher

P1010241 Pig Tin Box late 19th Century

P1010237 Pig Planter


  1. I LOVED seeing these pieces here!! I too have a dedicated shopper/gift giver for all my bracelet and handbag needs; it's so great to have a friend who can nail your taste so well.

  2. Thank you punctured for your comment. It is indeed nice to have a friend who can channel your tastes and desires. As I said in the post, I was given so much pig sh*t over the years, it's a relief to know that when your official pig buyer gets you something, it's going to be something swell. Luckily, everyone else has pretty much followed my pig moratorium!

    Best, K.

  3. Fun collection! I especially admired the Imari (because it reminded me of an old boyfriend (not that he was old, but that it was long ago.)

  4. Thanks Robert. The Imari pig is one of my favorites. I bought it over 22 years ago when I was on a semester abroad in England.

    Best, Kelly

  5. I've enjoyed your blog for some months now. But these last few entries -- the pigs, the table settings -- have been especially delightful.

    Thank you for all of it.

    Jason from knappy-head

  6. Thank you Jason. I have enjoyed your blog as well particularly the Easter Bunny one. Great explanation and fantastic photos!

    Best, Kelly