Forani Turtle/Tortoise Collection
Japanese ivory ornament of Urashima Taro

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Japanese ivory ornament of Urashima Taro - Forani Collection    

Japanese ivory ornament of Urashima Taro
Forani Collection
Cat. No: CH75-449

Okimono (display object) of carved ivory representing Urashima Taro, as an old man in fine clothes with an empty box in front of him, seated on a turtle. Mid-19th century, Japan. Acquired: London.

Note. The story of Urashima Taro, the first version of which was recorded in the early 8th century, recounts how a young fisherman of that name was bewitched by a princess of the sea and taken on the back of a turtle to her submarine palace. There they lived happily together for three years until he became homesick and begged to revisit his village. Again he was carried on a turtle's back but, before he left, the princess gave him a box, warning him to keep it safely with him until he returned and never to open it. When he reached his village he discovered that he had been away for three hundred years, and thinking the box might contain the explanation he opened it. The time he had not lived had been kept in the box and, as soon as it was released, he grew old and died.

Photo: John Noone IMG_1444.jpg

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