The Rest of the Cybis Menagerie

After sorting through all of the various Cybis porcelain animals by genre (cats, dogs, bulls and bears, horses, woodlanders, denizens of the deep, carousel creatures, et al.) there were still a few that refused to fit into a category….and so here they are.


dall-sheep-detailOne of the most impressive Cybis sculptures was the Dall Sheep. A limited edition of only 50, it was introduced in 1982 at a price of $4250. I do not know whether the edition was subsequently reduced before closing sometime between 1988 and 1993. It stands 19.5” high on its wood base and was probably sculpted by Charles Oldham. The Dall sheep is Ovis dalli and is found in the high mountains of the American northwest and Alaska. They are also known as “thinhorn sheep”. They live for about ten years in their wild mountain habitat and are found in two colorations: white and grey. The colored subspecies is Ovis dalli stonei, usually called Stone’s Sheep. The female Dall sheep has much smaller horns, as you would expect. The male’s curled horns take 80% of their typical decade’s lifespan to fully develop. The age of a ram can be counted by the number of horn rings, just like a tree. Dall sheep populations in Alaska are declining due to hunting, and in 2015 there was discussion as to possible changes to the existing laws; about 800 of these sheep – mostly rams – are killed each year.


A much smaller and much earlier ram is this little fellow, from the early 1940s! He is in the collection of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. Although listed in their holdings as a goat, the large curling horns identify him as a Ram.

He is actually an adaptation of a mold that was being used for early Cybis retail pieces of fanciful horses but the horns and beard were added in order to make him into a ram. Notice how the C-shaped white ‘mane’ on the piece at the lower left has been duplicated in order to form the pair of horns, and the forelock replaced by a thicker base section where the two horn pieces join at the top.


ELEPHANT in white by CybisAnother impressive Cybis animal was the Elephant, produced from 1968 to 1972. It was a limited edition of only 100 and was priced at $600 throughout. It is 13.5” high and 27” long, and was produced for the retail market in white bisque only.

In January 1977, as President Gerald Ford was leaving office, he was presented with this Elephant by the National Conference of Republican Mayors. The plaque affixed to the base reads

To President Gerald R. Ford
for effective leadership in strengthening
and supporting local government throughout the United States
With gratitude and esteem
National Conference of Republican Mayors
August 9, 1974     Ralph J. Perk Chairman   January 20, 1977

There is a bit of backstory behind this piece. Because the retail edition had been completed five years earlier, an Elephant first had to be located. Ralph Perk, being a Cleveland, Ohio native, went to that city’s iconic jewelry and fine gifts store which was Cowell & Hubbard. They, as a member of the Zales network, apparently located one somewhere in Georgia (which, ironically, was the home state of Ford’s successor, Jimmy Carter), quite possibly at another Zales network retailer. The piece was sent to Cowell & Hubbard, who arranged for the wood base and engraved plaque so that Mr. Perk could present the piece to President Ford in Washington D.C. My sincere thanks to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the photo of this piece which is now in their holdings.

Elephant by Cybis artist proof in grey with Ronald Reagan

Ten years after the retail edition had been completed, this grey artist’s proof was presented to then-President Ronald Reagan. The Ronald Reagan Library website contains a copy of the President’s daily schedule; the entry for December 7, 1982 includes this:

4:55-5:00pm. The President met with Senator Paula Hawkins (R-Florida); Marilyn Mennello, personal friend of Senator Hawkins and presentor of a piece of Cybis sculpture; Joseph W. Chorlton, President Cybis Porcelains, Trenton, New Jersey; David Swanson, Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs. The purpose of the meeting was to present the President with a piece of Cybis sculpture, entitled “The Elephant” presented by Ms. Mennello.

In the photo, Senator Hawkins stands next to the president as Mrs. Mennello looks on.
The Cybis studio received this thank-you letter from President Reagan following the presentation.


Another gray Elephant from the studio’s backstock that was never a retail offering in this color.

(The two circus-themed elephants, Alexander and Phineas, are shown in the Circus post.)

A later and much smaller pachyderm is Elephant ‘Willoughby’ who is 5.25” tall and about 5” long. He was designed by Susan Eaton. Introduced in Spring 1985 at $195, he appears in the 1986 Cybis catalog on the same page as four other Animal Kingdom & Woodland Collection sculptures. Although he was placed into Cybis’ circus category in winter 1986, there is nothing about him to indicate that he is a circus elephant. However, the studio kept him in the Circus Collection for the remainder of his retail life. In my opinion, his appearance and original Collection assignment should make him a standard ‘baby animal’ piece…. much like the similar Baby Rhino and Hippo shown below! (Notice the gray Willoughby in the photo of the gray Elephant; that one, too, is probably a test piece.)

The very first Cybis elephant, however, was the Woodlands Elephant Scene from the 1950s. No photo is available but it was probably in color and glazed, much like the Woodlands Bear Scene shown in Bulls and Bears.


BABY RHINO MONDAY by CybisOther African wildlife found their way into the Cybis zoo as well. This is Baby Rhino ‘Monday’ from 1985 who is 4.5” high and 7” long, a nonlimited edition that sold for $85. During the mid-1990s he was given the subtitle “After the Party” on several price lists. Designed by Susan Eaton.

LOVE IS BLIND baby rhino by CybisTwo years later (1987) Cybis introduced the variation Baby Rhino ‘Love is Blind’ who sports a blue rosette and a red heart embossed with “Love me” for $130.

Baby Rhino with butterfly by Cybis


This Baby Rhino with Butterfly sports the same butterfly that originally appeared in the early 1970s on the Cybis pansies China Maid and Crinoline Lady. This was probably a retail-gallery-event piece.


HIPPO TGIF by CybisThis is Hippo ‘T.G.I.F.’ (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) from 1986, a nonlimited edition issued at $95. He is 5” tall and was designed by Susan Eaton. Having done a ‘Monday’ animal the year before, Cybis of course produced a companion piece for Friday! On a 1993 price list he was offered together with Rhino ‘Monday’ for a discounted price of $250 for the pair; by the mid 1990s such combo-offers were eliminated.


The Hippo with Butterfly was certainly a gallery-event promo piece. At least one of them has been found with Joseph Chorlton’s autograph on the underside; he often attended such events, especially when they were held at one of the studio’s major retailers.
Although blurry in the photo, the date looks like 3/11/87. This would easily correspond to a typical pre-Spring-new-introductions Cybis retailer event.

HIPPO BASEBALL FAN by CybisThis spinoff was titled Hippo, Baseball Fan ‘Play Ball’. He is probably between 5.5” and 6” high due to the cap add-on. His issue price was $195. For some unknown reason this piece was temporarily drafted into a ‘New Jersey Collection‘ during the 1990s.

There is a story behind this piece. One day during football season, Cybis designer William Pae had a slow afternoon and decided to dress up one of the standard hippos by creating a green cap (because he’s a NY Jets fan) and of course the obligatory arena munchies: a container of popcorn. When Joseph Chorlton saw it, he said “This is great! We are going to produce this as a separate open edition”….which they did. Bill Pae’s NY-Jets-green cap was retained for the retail edition, although the studio later gave buyers the option of a different color cap to match their favorite sports team’s color.  Thus, Play Ball was a product of two Cybis designers: Sue Eaton for the animal, and Bill Pae for the sports concept and accessories.


The artists at Cybis often had fun experimenting with existing designs that were being produced, and the piece above is no exception. We can credit William Pae for this as well: One day on a whim he decided to make one of the Play Ball hippos as a pencil holder, by opening a hole in the back and using enough additional porcelain ‘slip’ in the casting process to make a heavier, slightly less fragile piece. It was a big hit with his fellow Cybis employees, and so at least a dozen of these were made using the person’s favorite-team color and/or logo on the cap . This example was part of a group of items that were sold at auction in connection with the sale and liquidation of the Cybis studio in the autumn of 2019. We can tell right away that this was made for a Philadelphia Phillies fan, not only from the letter but because that team’s colors are red, white and dark blue! Notice too that the hippo is realistically colored, unlike all of the retail versions which are far more white rather than real-hippo grey.


PERCY THE BLUE RIBBON PIG by CybisMoving from the savannah to the farm we find three different pig sculptures, all from the 1980s. The first was Percy the Blue Ribbon Pig in 1981 at $195. He is 5.5” high and was an open edition that was retired prior to 1988. Designed by Susan Eaton, this is yet another of Cybis’ totally incomprehensible Collection assignments, because Percy was assigned to the Circus Collection. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of a ‘circus pig’ and can’t imagine what one would be like. The title and presence of a ‘blue ribbon’ indicates an award rather than a physical performance. In my opinion, Percy is another piece that should have been put into the Animal Kingdom category and left there in peace, to do whatever prize-winning (or cattle-herding?) pigs do. I fudge the issue by showing him here and also in the Circus post.


PIG PLATO by Cybis This is Pig ‘Plato’ from 1983, also by Susan Eaton. He is the same size as Percy, at 5” high. Selling for $195 at introduction, he continued to be produced through the 1990s. This sculpture strikes me as being another in the mostly-white-bisque-baby-animal series because his size, appearance, and price point fits right in with Willoughby, Monday, and T.G.I.F.



And last we have Three Little Pigs although not, apparently, intended to be of the fairytale kind. Introduced in 1990, this piglet trio is 3.75” high and retailed for $195.

Cybis produced several different sheep/lambs although one of them has been known by two different names.


The very first of these dates from the early days of the studio and was one of their “folklore animals”. According to Cybis in Retrospect, this is the Baby Sheep with papka decorations that look just like Cheerios! This little fellow is 8” high and dates from 1942–1945.  (Other papka creations can be seen here.)


Another argument against the foregoing being a sheep is this larger version which was clearly made from the same mold design. However, Retrospect describes this as being a Large Llama! I must say that a llama fits the description of this most far more accurately than “sheep” does.

There were several different Cybis lambs. The earliest ones were cast from molds purchased from other companies such as Holland Mold and Atlantic Mold during the 1950s.

BABY LAMB ON BASE by Cybis 1960 to 1962The Baby Lamb on Base was made as a stand-alone piece from 1960 to late 1962. It is the same lamb that is on the 1950s Saint Francis with Doves and Lambs, which was the only remaining saint piece in the Cybis lineup as of their Spring 1963 price list. This baby lamb does not appear on that list which means it was probably retired at the end of the previous year. Pricing is unknown but since this is a small piece (about 3″ high) it was probably less than $10.


TWO LAMBS by CybisThe Two Lambs were likewise produced between 1960 and late 1962.  As shown above they are 5.5” high including the wood base. The lamb mold was part of the 1950s nativity sculpture called Pillar of Families. That nativity piece continued to be made until 1964.


LAMB MANDY by Cybis view 1

lamb-mandy-by-cybis-view-2After those early lamb retirements there were none in the Cybis line until 1979’s Lamb ‘Mandy’ was issued as a separate companion piece to Little Bo Peep who is seen in Nursery Rhymes. This lamb’s issue price was $90 and she was retired to pasture, along with Bo Peep, in 1982 at $125. She is 4.5” high and was designed by Susan Eaton.


BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP by CybisAlthough the 1981 nursery rhyme piece Baa Baa Black Sheep includes a black sheep (naturally!), Cybis also produced a separate 3.5” high companion sculpture white sheep during the same year. The only difference between the two sheep is a slight difference in head position: The black sheep is looking slightly upward while the white sheep is not. Other than that, they are from the same mold.

LAMB MUFFY FLUFFY by CybisAlthough the 1981 introduction brochure gives the white sheep’s  name as Muffy, fluffy white sheep it was later shortened to just Muffy Fluffy (or “Fluffy Muffy” as some retailer ads had it!) When Baa Baa Black Sheep was retired a few years later, Muffy Fluffy was then renamed Small Lamb and brought into the second Nativity series as the “color” version, with a new “white embellished with gold” version added as an alternate colorway.


Nativity LAMB in white and gold by CybisThe other, larger, nativity lamb is named simply Lamb; it was introduced in 1985….. probably prior to the drafting of Muffy Fluffy onto the team. This lamb is 4.75” high and is shown here in the white-with-gold colorway.

The following animals are test pieces/prototypes that were never released for retail sale.

The Zebra is very similar to the Pinto Colt and is from the same era (mid-1970s.) In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if both were sculpted by the same artist and/or used the same head with a repositioning of the ears.  (The lower part of his right rear leg is missing.)


I have always wondered why Cybis never produced a lion or other “big cat” and now have my answer: They did, but not for retail sale. This reclining Lion was only a test piece. It is 4 1/2″ high and 8 3/4″ long.

Here we have a fascinating example of the evolution of a monkey (with apologies to Charles Darwin), thanks to a random and unusual eBay listing. The seller identified the two pieces in the upper photo as ‘unmarked Cybis’, and indeed their undersides did have faint traces of reddish-brown marks that could be remnants of a Cybis signature. The style of the branch and leaves does resemble some early-1960s bird and flower pieces. But it is the limbs that identify these monkeys – and the left-hand one in particular – as the direct ancestors of a 1975 Circus piece:

MONKEY BOSUN by CybisThis is Monkey ‘Bosun’ who was one of the first three introductory Circus Collection pieces in 1975. It is clear that the arm, leg, and tail molds have simply been repositioned in order to allow him to sit on a cube; the shirt and pants were added to the body mold, and separate small molds were created for the cap and bow/scarf. There have been some very small tweaks to the head mold, in order to make it a bit rounder and achieve a slightly more ‘domestic’, rather than ‘wild animal’ appearance. Seeing the original prototypes holding a banana answers the question of why Bosun’s left arm is positioned as it is: The right-arm position makes sense because it looks like a salute, but the other arm position looks illogical (i.e., why is he holding his elbow? Did he injure it while playing tennis on the aft deck?) However, if his right arm had been placed lower, he would have had to be holding something in it . C’mon, give the poor guy a banana! 😀

Name Index of Cybis Sculptures
Visual Index (for human figures/busts only)

About the Cybis Reference Archive
What is Cybis?

Contact the Archive

Images of Cybis porcelain sculptures are provided for informational and educational purposes only. All photographs are copyrighted by their owner as indicated via watermark.  Please see the copyright notice in the footer and sidebar for important information regarding the text that appears within this website.

The Cybis Archive is a continually-updated website that provides the most comprehensive range of information about Cybis within a single source. It is not and never has been part of the Cybis Porcelain studio, which is no longer in business.