Tiny rubber kiwi

You won’t see a live kiwi in New Zealand unless you’re a dedicated birdwatcher or you go to a zoo. Unlike kea parrots, seagulls, and ibises, kiwis don’t hang out around humans and swoop down from the air to snatch crumbs from your lunch. They’re nocturnal. Moreover, they can’t swoop.

Nevertheless, tourist shops are overrun with kiwi bird keychains, t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses, paperweights, coasters, playing cards, baseball caps, fridge magnets, and figurines made from plastic, wood, glass, and metal.

Although I like animal figurines, and the kiwi is obviously the iconic New Zealand animal, I refrained from buying a kiwi figurine until I saw this inexpensive, tiny, rubber, made-in-China creature. Perfect.

Brass bird sculpture from Waiheke Island

This bird sculpture was made by Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia, a Maori artist whose shop I wandered into on Waiheke Island. He is a jeweler and self-trained sculptor who uses traditional Maori symbols and subjects, and is fascinated with bird and feather forms, which he has reproduced in stone, wood, and various metals. I’m proud to have been able to bring this little bird home with me.

Here’s a photo of a real wax-eye or silver-eye bird, the kind the sculpture was modeled on, taken by someone good at bird photos:

Two jade animals

In Singapore, there are many jade and other carved stone figurines available, especially of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, because many people practice feng shui.

I seldom see stone elephants, though, certainly not in this form, with the trunk turned to the side.

The other animal is a mythical thingy with a lot of different names. The main Wikipedia entry is at Pixiu. It has wings and one horn, and it goes without saying it’s lucky or whatever.

There’s nothing in the picture for scale, but these things are tiny.

I bought them at Naga Arts and Antiques at Tanglin Shopping Centre.