Finely carved from wood with darkened and accentuated areas, depicting Urashima Taro holding a large gourd filled with sake and offering it, in a sakazuki cup, to a little turtle crawling over his shoulder. Urashima is nursing the turtle back to health with sake, the drink of the immortals. Very finely carved details such as the turtle’s carapace, Urashima’s hair, his sandals and the straw apron – surely an allusion to the minogame (straw raincoat turtle). Both have minutely inlaid eyes of dark horn. Natural himotoshi and signature on the underside SHOKO 尚古. A pupil of Matsuda Sukenaga.
HEIGHT 4.2 cm
Condition: Excellent condition, very appealing patina.
Provenance: The Gabor Wilhelm Collection.
According to legend Urashima Taro saved a little minogame (straw-raincoat turtle) from an ill fate, which subsequently turned out to be the daughter of the dragon king. The next day a giant turtle appeared and brought Urashima to the underwater palace of the dragon god. Urashima stayed there for a few days and received a box and was told not to open it. When he returned, everyone he knew was gone and everything had changed, so in his bewilderment he opened the box and suddenly turned into an old man. He then heard a whisper from the sea telling him he was told not to open the box, in it was his old age…