Animal Motifs in Country Decorating
It makes perfect sense that animal motifs are such a big part of country primitive décor.
It’s a style rooted in the idea of recapturing the feel of an earlier time, one when animals were a bigger part of everyday life.
Browse through Piper Classics’ country primitive décor collection and you’ll find a number of animal-themed items.
But what is it we like about these animals? To help answer that question, we decided to take a look at a the qualities and traditions associated with some of them.
The rooster: A classic country décor animal
Think about the role the rooster plays on a farm. He’s the alarm that starts the day, and the guard that keeps the flock – a crucial source of food and income – safe from harm.
The rooster’s vigilance is part of the reason he became an unofficial national symbol in France, both during the French Revolution and for resistance fighters during World War II.
Beyond that, the rooster is a majestic looking animal, just as colorful and proud as its bird-brethren the peacock. There’s a reason you find him on so many primitive country pieces.
Maybe “lives like a pig” shouldn’t be an insult
“Sweats like a pig.” “Lives like a pig.” “Eats like a pig.”
When we compare someone to a pig, it’s rarely a compliment. But pigs don’t deserve their bad reputation.
For one thing, they’re among the cleanest animals around. The reason they wallow in mud is to help themselves stay cool. (Pigs can barely sweat, which means “sweating like a pig” isn’t really accurate.)
They’re also very smart. They’re great problem solvers, and are considered to be more trainable than dogs or cats. And pigs are naturally lean, and only plump up if they’re overfed by people.
“Pigs are difficult to classify,” PBS’s Nature said in its Joy of Pigs episode, noting that pop culture has portrayed them as everything from the dictators of George Orwell’s Animal Farm to the titular hero of the Babe movies.
Our rustic pigs are a bit more modest, happy to simply decorate your home.
How house cats came home
Fifteen percent of all internet traffic is related to cats. We love cats (even if they can seem indifferent to us), so it makes sense that we’d put them on our country primitve décor.
People have lived with cats for about 12,000 years. That’s not as long as the 35,000 years dogs have been domesticated, but the gap in time makes sense.
As Smithsonian magazine observed a few years ago, humans needed dogs when hunting was still the main way we got our food. As people began farming crops – and more importantly, began storing crops – cats became useful. Cats fed on the mice that would come to eat stored food. It was a good deal: cats got easy prey, people got a free pest control source.
In a sense, cats invited themselves to live with humans, we let the more docile ones in, and the stage was set for the tabby sleeping in your lap.
Why are rabbits and chicks are Easter symbols?
Here in our home state of Pennsylvania, the candy company Just Born makes the Marshmallow Peeps – and their cousins, the marshmallow bunny – you find on supermarket shelves every year around Easter.
But why are chicks and rabbits associated with this time of year?
In the case of chicks, it may just have to do with the fact that newborn chickens and the eggs they hatch from are the perfect symbol for new life.
The same goes for rabbits, an ancient symbol of fertility and springtime. In Germany, children observed the tradition of waiting for an egg-giving hare – the “Osterhase” – before Easter. When Germans came to America in the 1700s, they brought this tradition with them. These days, we know the Osterhase as the Easter Bunny.
As spring approaches, we hope you’ll choose one of our rabbit-themed decorations to welcome to new season. Like any piece of animal-themed décor, they help connect us to who we once were, and show our appreciation for the world around us. Happy decorating!