child of the river
I will bow to you, turning
the trick backwards, breath
of knowing healing spirit
spilling water into air
Continuing the turtle theme, I’ve drawn another Kappa netsuke. I still think Kappa was an inspiration for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though I can find no evidence online to back this up. A river deity and trickster who tried to lure people and animals into water, he could himself be tricked into helping humans because of his obsession with politeness. You can read more about Kappa in this post.
And see all my netsuke posts here.
at rest in between
sea and land, water and wind
shaping spanning time
This year was not a good one for collecting shells. But one morning on a walk along the beach, my daughters and I found, half-buried in the sand, a piece of what appears to be a sea turtle bone.
I drew it from both sides, and I also took photos.
Only in the close up can you see the subtle lines of the shell.
Once home I looked up sea turtle skeletons online.
Sea turtles are one of the few creatures to have both an internal and external skeleton.
And of course this must go in Nina’s turtle shell collection! I will give it to her the next time we meet for lunch.
You can read more about sea turtle anatomy here.
Reading between the lines:
story or history?
Ancient tongues disguise words.
Who will translate the words?
Who will reveal the lines
inside the history?
Is the myth history?
Behind forgotten words,
shadows of missing lines.
Lines in reverse, tangle of words, unwinding history.
This is a Rorschach painting where I not only dripped the paint onto the paper, but did a little deliberate painting too before I folded it. I thought it resembled a turtle/tortoise shell, so I embroidered an abstract one on top.
The poem is a tritina, from the day 7 prompt from NaPoWritMo.net. Not too late this time. Does it have anything to do with the illustration? Good question.
endless change our eyes
opened our feet contain both
highways and home
For many Native American tribes, turtle carries the weight of the earth on her back. Her shell contains the heavens, her body the underworld, and sacred writings and maps cover the shell. A symbol of creation, protection, and longevity, she is the keeper of the doors, the mediator between land and water, heaven and earth.
My collage is based on a Navajo turtle image.
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.
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.
Sea turtles are not only beautiful creatures, they help to maintain seagrass beds and are an important part of the ocean ecosystem. Human development of coastal areas pollutes and destroys these seagrass beds and jeopardizes turtle nesting sites on beaches. Global and ocean warming also endanger turtle habitats.
Turtles are hunted for both eggs and meat, and get caught in commercial fishing nets where they drown. Another threat is the trade in turtle parts for use in traditional African and Asian medicine.