“Meerkat on Lookout Duty”

 

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Meerkat on Lookout Duty, white clay yet unfired

What: a meerkat, 36 cm high ( ca. 14 in)

Made of: white clay, Barock glaze

Made by: Sarah

Meerkats belong since I was little to my very favorite animals. They´ve always impressed me with their unrelenting courage and determinacy to protect their family from all dangers.

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) Tswalu.jpg
By CharlesjsharpOwn work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Meerkats are highly territorial mongooses that live in complex groups, often called mobs, clans or gangs, of up to 50 animals. Their society relies on cooperation, and helpers of both sexes play a crucial role in raising the pups of the alpha female to adulthood.

Meerkats depend on their clan in many vital ways. A clan digs a series of multi-level tunnel-and-room burrows in its territory where all its members sleep at night and rest during the hottest part of the day.

In the morning, they emerge to warm up in the sun. They spend the day foraging and taking turns on lookout duty.

While the clan searches for beetles, lizards and scorpions or digs for tubers and roots that provide them with water, sentry meerkats keep watch for predators of all kind (jackals, snakes, birds of prey), often staying at their posts for hours.

When alerted to danger by an alarm call, the clan members retreat to nearby boltholes or mob together to ward off the predator. If an adult is surprised it even uses its own body to protect nearby pups thus often sacrificing itself.

 

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Last time I visited one of Berlin´s many beautiful museums I landed, as is often the case, in the museum shop after roaming through the exhibition. There I literally stumbled upon a life-size meerkat standing in the doorway made of hideous black plastic. Although I very much disliked the material it has been made of, I immediately noticed the beauty of the idea and could already imagine making a similar meerkat using clay.

 

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So I searched for a couple of photos that could guide me in the process and set to work on my so far largest statue.

With its 36 cm my „Meerkat on Lookout Duty“ is actually a little bit taller than the normal meerkat that reaches a height between 19-29 cm (7 1|2 – 11 1|2 in).

If you want to watch these wonderful animals in their natural habitat, you need to go to South Africa, a land of immense beauty that stands on my need-to-see list.

If for some reason or other that is a bit  inconvenient to you, just visit a nearby zoo, most parks have a clan of meerkats in their repertoire. 😉

 

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Meerkat on Lokout Duty, fired and glazed (“Barock glaze”)

 

Because glazing helps to lend all ceramics more stability, I decided to glaze my “little” meerkat. For this I chose a glaze called “Barock”, a metallic glaze with a hue of warm bronze that reminds me just a bit of a meerkat´s actual coloring.

The eyes and their surroundings as well as the toe nails I glazed in black.

 

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Meerkat on Lookout Duty, fired and glazed (detail)

 

He stands now on lookout duty on a chair placed near a window where he can observe the skies for birds of prey 😉

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44 thoughts on ““Meerkat on Lookout Duty”

  1. I like meerkat too. They are cute and I like how they are living together with different roles. That indicates smart and civilization.

    That is a great work you have done with your clay “Meerkat on Lokout Duty”!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is wonderful. Your meerkat is gorgeous. I love these animals! We have them at Auckland Zoo and there are a series of tunnels humans can crawl through to see the Meerkats from a different vantage point. Usually the tunnels are full of kids, and I hate enclosed spaces, but I can’t resist going into them. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Ooh! Thank you soooooo much for noticing this particular detail, Laura!!! 🙂 I have to admit that I took great care to form its belly exactly like this 😀 It´s a feature I also love about these magnificent animals and that I share with them 😉 Thank you again for noticing, you absolutely made my day!!!!! 🙂 xxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a beautiful meercat on the lookout for you and his family! I enjoyed your sharing this as one of your favorite animals and admired how it came out, Sarah. This took a lot of time, I believe!
    I think the color of glaze makes him extra handsome! xo hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, dear Robin!! It took some time but less than I expected. 2 or 3 days for the forming bit, an hour or so for glazing since I had to double-coat it. When I’m in the right mood I work quite fast 😄 xxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

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