EN | FR | NL
The Collection | Gallery | Catalog

Kame Goman-sai (121)

Okimono, Gomansai
Statue of five tortoises
Monoxylous wood and lacquer
Edo period, 19th century, dated 1845
Former collection of the Kyoto temple, Daigo-ji
H.: 23 cm

The tortoise is a very popular motif in the Japanese arts. Because the tortoise is so long-lived, it has long been a symbol of longevity in Japan. There is a proverb in Japan, which says “Cranes live for 1000 years, tortoises live for 10000 years”. This object is a masterpiece of carving. Made from a single piece of wood, this Okimono shows a pyramid of five turtles rendered in most minute detail. At first view the turtles’ carapaces look real. The signature of the carver, Hidari Issan who was a famous Netsuke carver, appears at the bottom of the piece.

Back to the Gallery