Monday, March 17, 2008

Turtle of the Day

Responding to a request to share more of my turtle collection, I have decided to start posting a "turtle of the day" and share the stories behind each one - where I remember them.

You will have to forgive the photography - these were taken on the fly between The Munchkin's pleas to "play with the trains, Mommy" so a few ended up a bit blurry. Or maybe it's just my eyes.

Anyway - here we go:

I thought I would start with one of the largest turtles in my collection (not counting the Munchkin's turtle sandbox!) - this is a Kyoto porcelain turtle. I have no idea of the age of it, but I got it at an antique flea market at a temple in Kyoto in 1992. One of my American friends in Kanazawa found a book called Japanese Accents in Western Interiors that listed a whole bunch of temples all around Japan that held these regular weekend antique flea markets, so one weekend we bought train tickets, made some hotel reservations, and went to about 6 different markets in 3 cities. We got kimonos and silk fabrics, wooden chalk line tools (sumitsubo) and, of course, turtles. The haggling was the fun part - I think this one started out at about $80, and I think I eventually paid around $30 for it.

The turtle has a feathered tail - I have notes somewhere explaining the significance of it and will edit with that information when I find it again. The box on it's back is actually an incense burner - you would fill it with sand and stand the incense sticks up in the sand, then replace the little lid when not in use.

This little fella got nearly first class treatment when I returned home in 1993 - I was so afraid he would get broken in shipment, or in a suitcase, so he was very carefully wrapped in paper and a few tee shirts and came along in my carry on bag along with all the negatives of all the photos I took during my 3 year stay. Needless to say it was a VERY heavy bag and probably would not meet today's standards!!!

Tune in tomorrow for the next edition of turtles!


Barb said...

I look forward to it. I've got several pieces of turtle fabric ~ I think at least one of them needs to become a Miranda. Barb

Amelia said...

I am glad you have started showing the turle collection. Interesting story behind with this big blue beauty.

Hazel said...

You turtle is wonderful ,I love the color .What a special treasure can't wait to read your notes on it .

Darling Jill Quilts said...

Very cool turtle! I can't wait to see more! I made my mom a ceramic turtle in high school art class and she still displays it. The top of the shell comes off to reveal a dish where the body is. Very cool!