Asian Japanese or Chinese Small Metal Bronze Detailed Sea Turtle w Hand Painted Pen or Match Holder c 1880


This is an Asian metal bronze sea turtle with a holder on the back for pens or matches, so most likely a desk item. The region of origin is Japan or China. The date is 19th century, circa 1880.

The turtle is 3" long, 1 5/8" wide and 2 7/8" high to the top of the holder.

The holder is shaped like a cylinder and fits over the back. There is a screw in the bottom, which you can see by looking down at it, and that is how it stays on the bronze turtle.

The outside of the holder shows hand painted leaves and flower petals in gold and red enamel. There is some wear to the paint due to age and use.

The holder has a lot of brown spots on it, similar to the grain in wood.

Around the lower base there is a raised ridge that circles the holder. In a few photos I point with red arrows to some of the brown lines on this raised piece, in case the lines are small cracks, though they match the rest of the brown spots and lines.

The bronze turtle shows a lot of craftsmanship. The turtle looks like it is in movement, with head raised, front feet positioned just so, and the tail out. If you have ever sat on a tropical beach and watched the sea turtles head for the surf, this is how they look.

The turtle has been colored over the metal and specks of the color are missing from the underside, due to use and age. There are also scratches showing on the underside, in the color, due to use and age.

There are no maker, artist or sculptor identification marks on this piece.

Item ID: RL-281

$475 USD

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