Base for Temple Object
On View: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
ca. 17th century
9 13/16 × 25 3/8 × 10 1/4 in. (25.0 × 64.5 × 26.0 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Carroll Family Collection
Base for Temple Object, ca. 17th century. Wood, pigment, 9 13/16 × 25 3/8 × 10 1/4 in. (25.0 × 64.5 × 26.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Carroll Family Collection, 2019.45.1 (Photo: , CUR.2019.45.1.jpg)
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Turtle-shaped furnishing element, carved in wood, designed to serve as the wide, heavy base for a vertical element such as a lamp stand, drum, or ritual object, to be used in a temple setting or possibly in a palace. The turtle has small feet and dramatically protruding head and tail, with a lotus flower surrounding the mortice where the upper element would have tenoned into the base. The turtle's head and tail are reminiscent of those of a dragon, indicating its mythical nature. It stands on a flat platform with low legs. The figure is painted with much of the pigment still visible.
Turtles are popular subjects for furnishing bases because of multiple traditions in which a turtle (or tortoise) is said to support Mount Meru, the central point and axis around which the world or universe revolves. Turtles are also popular emblems of longevity.
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