These little souvenirs came from Nepal. The little rat is a tourist copy from the museum in Patan where the original is quite compelling. I fell in love with it and of course, I wanted a smaller replica so I searched high and low for just the right one with that child-like expression. It must be a popular item because this motif is made by so many craftsman in town, alas, many of them quite sterile, but this one had just the right simple feel to it expression. It sits in my bathroom and stares up at me when I brush my teeth. Its the small rat which offers up food to the giant elephant Ganeesh.
This is a small figurine (terre cuite) which was made by the tribal artists in the hills all over Nepal. I bought several but gave the rest away as gifts.
This was painted by a young man who made them in his tiny studio off one of the main squares. I cannot remember which temple but it was a large and very popular one with the tourists. He and his wife lived and worked in this tiny studio/apartment with a makeshift kitchen. In the front were his paintings which he made for the tourists. I bought several, and still have a few. Really lovely (and, lively things) which still move me. They were such a kind, modest and unassuming couple. He was (is, I hope) a very talented painter. It was easy to see. He painted lots of different animals with a great animation which appealed to me, and for each one he made a small wooden frame. I think that all 8 were the price of a meal. I have often thought of them since my visit there. Now, I wonder where they are,.. and if they survived the earthquake? They had so little before, now what?
These last few days as the tragedy unfolded I was digging a trench (mostly by hand) for electricity and water to be moved to a small studio behind my house. The whole time, I couldn't stop thinking about all that digging going on all over Nepal.