2018 marks the year of the dog on the Chinese zodiac calendar. Previous dog years include 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946 and 1934. According to zodiac specialists, this auspicious year is marked by traits of loyalty, honesty, and responsibility. The dog, as a reliable companion to man, has been paid homage to by many artists and artisans over the years. In honor of the occasion, we’ve hand-picked a selection of items that celebrate man’s best friend. So, be a good pup, and read on below—maybe you’ll even decide to take home a treat!
Porcelain Chinese Pug Dogs
These Chinese export porcelain pugs are the perfectly behaved companions. Crafted under the Qianlong Empire of the 18th century, the figures were created to export to Europeans, who were charmed by the exotic breed. First bred for the ruling families in China, pugs became popular in the European courts beginning in the 16th century, belonging to royals such as King William III, Empress Joséphine, and Queen Victoria. This pair sits at 10 inches high, approaching life size, and continue to make a (silent) statement today.
Marie Rochegrosse dans la Salle à Manger de Djenan Meriem by Georges Rochegrosse
This captivatingly sweet portrait of the artist's wife and beloved poodle epitomizes the way in which so many of us treat our pets like family. Marie and her poodle are immersed in conversation over afternoon tea and brandy. In addition to the delightful interaction between the subjects, the painting's setting provides a feast for the senses: the pair is surrounded by the sumptuous, vividly colored interior of the artist's villa at El-Biar, Algeria. Rochegrosse, a prominent French Orientalist painter, studied under Jules Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger and exhibited annually at the Paris Salon starting in 1882.
Bronze Palanquin Dog Finial
This rare object was utilized to decorate the palanquin, or hand-carried carriage utilized by the elite of India. The bronze finial, crafted in the form of a fierce dog, would have adorned the pole ends that were used to carry the carriage. The word "palanquin" is derived from the Sanskrit "palanki" meaning "bed" or "couch". These lushly covered conveyances were intended to be carried by four to eight bearers known as "behara", "dulia", "boyee" or "behara" depending on the region. The interiors were furnished with specialized bedding materials, including pillows to provide the utmost comfort while traveling. The ornamentation and complexity of palanquin was directly related to social status. The finals also abided by this convention, but these adornments also reflected the owner's gender. Flowers, particularly lotuses, and birds were the typical forms found on women's palanquin, while those for men often featured creatures from Indian mythology and folklore.
Dog Walker's Cane
This elegant, functional Congowood walking stick is topped by an sterling silver dog whistle. It conjures the image of an English gentleman wandering the rolling hills with a pack of loyal dogs. Yet, this stunning cane remains perfectly functional today and beckons for use!
The New Litter by Valentine Thomas Garland
This 1902 oil painting by British artist Valentine Thomas Garland captures the playful, endearing stage of a dog's life, one we often wish would last forever. The camaraderie of these three puppies clearly evoked a sense of sentimentality in the painter, whose work was exhibited in the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street Galleries, and Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours during his career.