Turtle Netsuke

turtle octopus netsuke s

You may notice that the turtle doesn’t look too happy here…that’s because Octopus, the attending physician of the Dragon King, sent him to steal a liver from a monkey, and he did not succeed.  In some stories the liver is supposed to cure the king, and in some the queen, but in all the monkey is able to fool the turtle and escape.

turtle monkey netsuke s

At least I think that’s what’s behind these netsuke.  There are many netsuke that feature other creatures on a turtle’s back.  It could just be that the tortoise is a symbol of good luck and longevity in Japan, and the other animal and its attributes are along for the ride.

More turtles to come.

And don’t forget Draw-A-Bird Day is tomorrow, March 8.

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22 responses to “Turtle Netsuke”

  1. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    I love them both! What mediums have you got in the octopus image? Colored pencil and charcoal, along with the ink? Love your colors on that toned paper.

  2. Jodi says :

    Fun! Heading out of town today for business but have my bird ready for tomorrow🐦

  3. Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash) says :

    Awesome!!!! So cool!! Love the backstory…and these images are masterful! So good!! New fave! 😍

  4. Sharon Mann says :

    Wonderful drawing Kerfe, and interesting mythology. I guess because the turtle is slow but perseveres that makes him the best role model. I’m like the turtle these days, haha.

  5. Teresa Robeson says :

    Whatever they mean, I love both the drawings! They have so much character and liveliness even though they’re carvings. ❤

  6. memadtwo says :

    That second turtle does look very down in the mouth. I’m inspired to do a drawing from this–“Socialite on a Turtle”. Okay to do?

  7. Susan Feniak says :

    Love the drawings and thanks for the reminder, re: Draw a Bird Day. I will have mine ready. Have a great day.

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