Origin : Japan
Made of : porcelain - potery
Classification : creatures / mammals
Maker : ?
About "rabbit" (usagi - 兎) :
Images of rabbits decorate many Japanese objects including a lot of hahsioki.
Rabbits are popular because in the Japanese folklore a rabbit pounding rice is said to live on the moon. He is making mochi (rice cake) for the festival of the moon in Automn (O-tsuki-mi). Some spots on the moon surface form indeed a shape that can be interpreted as the image of the moon rabbit working the rice.
The rabbit or hare is also one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs which are also used in Japan. In the Chinese zodiac, it's the year of birth which determines the sign as follows :
About "cherry blossom - Sakura" (sakura - 桜 or 櫻) :
From the Heian Period (794 - 1185), the cherry blossom (sakura) has been revered by Japanese. The word 'Sakura' is believed to be a corruption of the word 'Sakuya' (blooming) from the name of Princess Kono-Hana-Sakuya-Hime who is enshrined on the top of the Mount Fuji.
The cherry blossom is the most important flower for the Japanese. Its brief blooming time and fragility represents the transience of life. The life of the samurai was compared to the short life of the cherry blossom as the samurai was always ready to die for his master.
The 'Sakura' is a very common motif on kimonos, lacquerware, pottery and other decorative items and is one of the favorite theme of artists.
Japanese also admire the beauty of falling petals falling like snow in the spring breeze. People organize picnics with drinks, music and songs. The jox of viewing the sakura is called 'hanami'.