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Date: 19th Century
Medium: Carved ivory
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 7/8 × 1 5/8 × 2 1/4in. (4.8 × 4.1 × 5.7cm)
Credit Line: Proctor Collection
Object number: PC. 742.6
Label Text
Meanings derived from a turtle/tortoise motif are complex in Japanese culture. Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism all contribute understanding. These traditions claim that the tortoise helps prop up the world, guards the northern quadrant of the universe with the snake, and carries on its carapace sacred inscriptions. Primarily the tortoise is a symbol of longevity, and is depicted on many everyday objects in Japanese culture, such as this object.