Medium: Wood, pigment
Dates:ca. 17th century
Dimensions: 9 13/16 × 25 3/8 × 10 1/4 in. (25.0 × 64.5 × 26.0 cm)
Museum Location: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
Accession Number: 2019.45.1
Catalogue Description: 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.