As elephants’ (and the humans that love them) fight for survival in the wild and struggle against inhumane treatment in captivity gains more attention, it’s not surprising that images of elephants are finding their way on more and more products.
Descendents of the mastodons and wooly mammoths that once roamed almost the entire planet, elephants are playful and lively as children, rambunctious and rebellious as adolescents, caring mates, nurturing parents and wise elders. They’re among the most social animals and they mourn, they are humorous, they are protective and, under the best conditions, they can live to around 70 years old.
The novelty of the largest land mammal’s size and a trunk that serves in a similar capacity as a human’s hand offer an explanation why elephant images have been popular throughout human history. The most exalted elephant image of all, of course, is Ganesh, the Hindu elephant-headed god of wisdom and learning.
Most collectors of decorative elephants search for elephants with their trunks up, which is considered good luck. The idea is that the elephant’s trunk is showering you with good fortune. Go a little further into the concept of elephants and luck and you’ll find that an elephant figure or picture should face the door to welcome luck into the home. Another version of that custom has a door-facing elephant standing strong and firm against bad luck. In effect, the elephant guards the home against misfortune.
Elephants on jewelry, like our Jippy Elephant bracelet and our Ellie bangle, accessorize outfits with an exotic flair. Just as fun, but a little bigger and bolder is our striped elephant backpack that is perfectly sized for toddlers and preschoolers, but is also popular with teenagers and college students.
If you want to go beyond adorning yourself with elephant imagery, Chiang Mai, Thailand, is known for their elephant camps where visitors can interact with an elephant and its mahout, a human who devotes his or her life to a single elephant. Guidelines for finding the most ethical camps are easy to find online. Because elephants become severely depressed when they’re kept from other elephants and otherwise mistreated, elephant devotees should put forth the extra effort to find and patronize only the most ethical camps. The reward is a life-changing experience as you interact with content elephants that are controlled only with voice commands (not physical punishment) and that are not forced to perform physically harmful tricks for entertainment.
Elephants are also known for their empathy and the fact that female elephants have best friends. So the desire to wear or even spend time with actual elephants is seen as an offshoot of a natural need to connect with others. Keeping elephant decorations around your house is also a way to communicate a warm welcome to guests.