Full Image and Description Manuscript Catalog
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Catalog No: 70.3/ 499
Country: JAPAN
Material: WOOD, STONE, HORN ?
Dimensions: L:5.5 W:5 H:5.4 (in CM)
Acquisition Year: 1961 [TRANSFER]
Donor: DRUMMOND, I.W., DR.
Keywords: NETSUKE
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The turtle was a popular subject for netsuke because it represents longevity in Japanese folklore. In one well-known story, a fisherman rescues a sea turtle, which transforms into the princess of an undersea kingdom. After staying with her for three years, the fisherman returns to land only to discover that 300 years have passed. A turtle netsuke would have been widely recognized as a reference to the turtle’s legendary immortality, communicating its wearer’s desire for a long life or the good wishes of someone who may have bestowed the netsuke as a gift.

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