The Mythical Turtle
The ‘Mythical Turtle of Longevity’ Sake Pourer (1810-1850).
The ‘Mythical Turtle of Longevity’ Sake Pourer
Created: Japan, Late Edo period, 1810-1850.
Medium: Earthenware with overglaze enamel decoration.
Dimensions: 12.7 cm. high
This Kyoto ware sake pourer is modeled in the form of a stylized turtle and is said to represent a mythical turtle of longevity. The neck and head form the spout and the long moss growing on its’ shell, indicating the animal’s old age, curves upward to create the handle. Details, such as the brilliant shell plates are rendered in coloured enamels. David Pepper describes this as an excellent example of the Kyoto pottery style which was first developed by Master Nononura Ninsei (1574-1666). The silver lid, possibly a later Meiji period addition, was likely added to make it resemble a Western teapot with sale to foreign tourists in mind.