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Eleven Turtles
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Eleven Turtles

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Turtles were attractive as display objects in Japan because they were seen as symbols of long life and happiness. These appear to be cast from actual specimens of the semi-aquatic species Mauremys Japonica. Each was cast separately, then pinned to the others. Murata Seimin was highly acclaimed as a master metal caster and was famous for these turtles. According to legend, the turtles that he used were alive, and one of his heirs suffered a painful death because of the turtles' curse.


  • The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
Provenance Kay Collection Sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, 1913 (?); William T. Walters, Baltimore, prior to 1884 [pictured in 1884 gallery photograph] [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions bunsei nen seimin chu; [Translation] Cast by Seimin, Bunsei era (1818-29)
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, before 1884

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ca. 1818-1829 (late Edo)
cast bronze
Accession Number
H: 5 7/8 × W: 14 9/16 × D: 12 in. (14.9 × 37 × 30.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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