Saturday, August 9, 2014


Saucer, 4.25 inches, printed in black with a pangolin, ca. 1820

A close-up of the saucer/The word pangolin is found among the leaves at the bottom of the photo

The source print for the pangolin is found in Histoire Naturelle by Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, ca. 1788

A photo of a saucer printed with an animal called a pangolin was sent to me to enter into the Transferware Collectors Club Pattern and Source Print Database.  I actually wondered if the animal was real.  Research showed that the pangolin is similar to an armadillo and an anteater. It has large plate-like scales, and in the past was thought to be a link between mammals and reptiles.  It is, however,  a mammal.  Pangolins are an endangered species as it is thought that its ground up scales are a cure for cancer or asthma. They are also considered a delicious exotic food. Their plight is similar to that of the rhinoceros which is hunted for the imagined magical and erotic properties of its horn.

Recently I saw video about pangolins on the Facebook page of the London Zoo (Zoological Society of London or ZSL).  It is an old truth that once you learn about something you see it everywhere.  The video is graphic and disturbing, but makes the point that using animals for selfish purposes is wrong.  Pangolins shouldn't go the way of the quagga (see my quagga post here), the carrier pigeon, or the dodo.

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