Japanese vintage finely carved okimono statue of a kame or tortoise is about 30-40 years old. It has a great design with very great hand carved detail. It is carved by an artist from 'yakusugi' or cedar wood which has the unique, thick dark grain lines and adds to the richness of this piece. This piece is in excellent condition with no cracks, it does have a chip on its back foot which is not large as all, It does have patina with minimal age wear. It was a purchase from a dealer in Japan. There are many stories and myths about the turtle in Japanese culture.
Size: Length 8.58 inches or 22 cm, Width 3.34 inches or 9.5 cm, Height 1.48 inches or 3.8cms. Weight 375 grams or .82 lbs.
The Kame in Japan:
Turtles are frequently depicted in popular culture as easygoing, patient, and wise creatures. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement, sturdiness, and wrinkled appearance, they are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world. Turtles are regularly incorporated into human culture, with painters, photographers, poets, songwriters, and sculptors using them as subjects. They have an important role in mythologies around the world, and are often implicated in creation myths regarding the origin of the Earth. Sea turtles are a charismatic megafauna and are used as symbols of the marine environment and environmentalism. As a result of its role as a slow, peaceful creature in culture, the turtle can be misconceived as a sedentary animal; however, many types of turtle, especially sea turtles, frequently migrate over large distances in oceans.
In relation to both the turtle and the tortoise; or turtle reptile, 1609, 'marine tortoise,' from French tortue 'turtle, tortoise,' of unknown origin. The Englidh word is perhaps a sailors' mauling of the French one, by the similar sounding turtle This later extended to land tortoises.
Therefore, the turtle or tortoise is a favored motif by netsuke-carvers and other artisans, and is featured in traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies. There is also a well-known artistic pattern based on the nearly hexagonal shape of a tortoise's shell. These patterns are usually composed of symmetrical hexagons, sometimes with smaller hexagons within them.
In Japan, the turtle has developed a more independent tradition than the other three prominent beasts of China. The minogame 蓑亀, which is so old it has a train of seaweed growing on its back, is a symbol of longevity and felicity. A minogame has an important role in the well-known legend of Urashima Tarō. According to traditional Japanese beliefs, the tortoise is a haven for immortals and the world mountain, and symbolizes longevity, good luck, and support. It is the symbol of Kumpira, the god of seafaring people.
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