The story of “Pugs” starts back in Asia, China specifically in around 400 BC. Before Pugs became in vogue for inner city socialites and hipsters they were favourites of the Buddhist Monasteries of Tibet and kept by the Emperors of China. They were so special to the royals that they were given their own servant (these days they are just referred to as “owners”).
One of my favourite historical stories about Pugs is that of William the Silent, King of Holland. He was at war with the Spanish during the 16th century and was saved one night from two would-be assassins when awoken by his Pug. From then on the Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange. Later in 1688 his grandson ascended the throne of England and all the family’s Pugs were bedecked with orange ribbon to denote their special family connection and status.
Pugs were one of the earliest pure breeds to be brought to Australia with immigrants in the 1860’s and participated in the Sydney Royal Show in 1870.
So as you can see Pugs come from not so humble beginnings so it’s no surprise that they have become a bit of an icon not just in social media and fashion but in antiques as well!
And so to my lovely collection of pottery and terracotta Pugs which I have acquired through a number of house calls, which I always enjoy. The pieces always come with beautiful stories of family and friends, and it is always a privilege to be privy to these special sagas.
My beautiful Japanese terracotta Pug with two delightful puppies came from a house call with an acquaintance in the trade. Many of the treasures in their home were far out of my price range as they were exceptionally rare and the asking price was well above retail and why not? A rare piece is irreplaceable at any price.
And so I focused on buying items within my budget, and more importantly items that I found to my liking and that were artistically of merit. One of these was this group of Japanese dogs. Now they do resemble the Pug as we know it, but I understand that the European Pug has been crossed and bred for European taste. Perhaps the imagery here is of a Japanese type of Pug, or possibly one of Chinese origin?
An interesting aspect about our trade is that our clients are some of our finest teachers and somebody might be able to recognise the exact breed….however with artistic license I will continue with Pug!
The delicate features of the sculpture are superb, the textured fur, the glazed tongues, nose and eyes and of course the expressions on each of the dogs faces. You just can’t help but anthropomorphise their expressions!
The mother with one eye on her pup on her shoulder, the other in anticipation of what is to come, the shoulder pup with such expectant eyes! The little one at its mother’s feet has an expression of being on guard, checking out the neighbourhood.
So as you should always do with your pups we’re taking them on an outing, off to Sydney for the AAADA Antique and Arts Fair.
Many of the AAADA dealers who exhibit at our Australian Fairs have commented that our fairs are of international standing which is a standard to be proud of, and one to continually aspire to and maintain.
The Sydney AAADA Antique and Arts Fair is a wonderful day out (not just for Pugs!) and I implore you to come along and experience some of the finest wares the Australian AAADA Dealers have to offer.
I will be presenting my Pugs and many more statues, jewellery and decorative art pieces at the Sydney AAADA antique and Arts fair this coming August 22nd to 25th at the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Balmain, Sydney. You can find all the details on the AAADA website including purchasing tickets.
I can’t wait to see you there! And remember…..
Don’t just be a treasure hunter, be an adventurer!
~ Elizabeth Syber