11th May 2007

The Majestic Kitchen Rooster

Ceramic Rooster

There are many things in life that are not for me to understand, and chief among them is the ubiquitous ceramic kitchen rooster. It’s one of those things that for many years I didn’t even think to question, but once I did set to wondering, I became amazed and mystified by this seemingly-simple kitchen tchotchke.

You’ve seen these a hundred times before, and I’d wager you haven’t given them a lot of thought, either. But, they’re kind of weird. For starters, the rooster is always depicted with all the noble bearing of a Roman general. These roosters don’t look like they’re just the big man around the henhouse, they look like they’ve just come back from conquering half of Europe. And they’re not cheap — the one pictured here has a $375 price tag. Who is spending nearly four hundred dollars on a ceramic chicken? Granted, it’s a very, very nice ceramic chicken, but it seems a bit odd that this would be happening all the time without a few questions being asked.

Questions like … who makes these? Somewhere out there, someone is making a living off of making ceramic roosters. Someone is a ceramic rooster artisan. Someone learned how to make ceramic roosters from their grandfather, and comes from a long line of rooster-makers. Perhaps there is a village in Italy that is renowned for its collection of fine chicken portaitists.

When I first started to ponder the kitchen rooster a few years ago, I started photographing them whenever I saw one. I finally gave up after I hit a few dozen — the suckers are all over the place. But here’s the kicker — I never saw two that were alike. They have got to be made from molds, but why have I not seen any duplicate chickens? The variety in the ceramic rooster market is simply astounding.

I don’t have the answers, and frankly, I don’t want them — I like a little mystery now & then. So, the next time to cross the path of a very fancy ceramic kitchen rooster, ponder for a moment where he came from, and where he’s headed. And be thankful you aren’t a peasant in some tiny European village he’s just ransacked.

p.s. — I do appreciate the irony in this questioning of ceramic roosters coming from a woman who runs a huge site dedicated to ceramic drinking cups made to look like Polynesian gods.

There are currently 8 responses to “The Majestic Kitchen Rooster”

  1. 1 On May 11th, 2007, MrBaliHai said:

    Missus Bali Hai was on a Chicken Kick for quite a while: plates, napkins, folk art, etc. Much to my relief, we managed to avoid the giant ceramic kitchen rooster.

  2. 2 On October 7th, 2007, cynfulcynner said:

    We had these at the Macy’s where I worked. They were part of one of their casual china patterns. They were in the $300-400 range and completely unnecessary!

  3. 3 On December 31st, 2009, Andrea said:

    I asked my mother to get me a giant ceramic rooster as my wedding shower gift.

    They are worth every penny.

  4. 4 On November 7th, 2010, lacookerbaker said:

    a Portugese friend of mine told me that every Portugese kitchen has one as a token for good luck… I have wanted one ever since seeing the one his mother had in her kitchen – they seem to be popular gifts for newlyweds.

  5. 5 On March 2nd, 2011, Ainsley said:

    I too an fascinated by kitchen roosters. I saw one in an old photograph of my grandparents kitchen and have since been on the hunt for information. The one you have photographed looks (excluding the paint job) the same is this one, maybe it’s just me? http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/6396686

  6. 6 On November 26th, 2011, susan said:

    where can I buy this rooster ?

  7. 7 On July 7th, 2012, Marilyn Todd said:

    Where can I purchase this rooster?

  8. 8 On May 24th, 2013, Virginia said:

    What store was this in?