<em>Base for Temple Object</em>, 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)

Base for Temple Object

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

Image: CUR.2019.45.1.jpg,

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.

Brooklyn Museum