Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Karmapa's Rabbit (Again)

I am quite fond of rabbits.

Anyway, you read this blog, every so often you have to read about rabbits. That's how it goes here, and I hope nobody has a problem with that.

The 13th Karmapa, Dudul Dorje (1733-1797) was well known for his love of and ability to communicate with animals, and deemed rabbits his special favorites.

As well he might, for rabbits are singular creatures. They can, in certain circumstances, be miraculously born, and there are cases where buddhas and bodhisattvas have taken up such birth.

That the 13th Karmapa fancied rabbits in no small measure is a matter of historical fact. I have seen at least two tangkhas of him that include depictions of a rabbit and rabbit hutch, both in the lower right hand corner. Seems that everywhere he went, he took his rabbit. In the tangkha shown here (above), the hutch seems to be woven. In the other (which I unfortunately cannot find), the hutch resembles a cupola, very much like the one below.

This is actually a beautifully designed and reasonably well-constructed hutch, although I would like it much better in a rare wood with parquetry and mother-of-pearl inlays. I like the little rabbit on top, but it should be gilded, as should the roof. You know, for around USD $900., you can get a gold-plated weathervane of a rabbit, and I think that would look even more splendid. This sort of hutch design is O.K. for small rabbits, and contributes to their health by giving them the opportunity to hop up the different levels. One of my rabbits has two levels in his house, and I believe it has contributed greatly to his reaching an almost unheard of age.

Above is a new design being made in China that is gaining popularity in Great Britain (although it seems a little small). Great Britain is the home of the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, which is one of the world's premier rabbit protection and benevolence societies. They have set new guidelines, that for a hutch to be acceptable, it must at minimum permit the rabbit to (1) make three hops in any direction, (2) stretch and flop in any direction, and (3) stand up to full height. This design seems to fit the bill, with the addition of the ramp, which I think is essential. I want to add that it should be big enough for two, as rabbits live longer when kept with other rabbits.

It is quite warm in many places this time of year, and if you have rabbits, then you already know how vitally important it is to keep them cool. I always have ice bottles handy in case of emergencies, and you can mist them as well.

O.K., I feel better now....

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