An Arita figure of an Immortal, circa 1680/1700.

An early-enamelled figure of an Immortal, shown riding on the back of a ‘flaming tortoise’: a turtle whose carapace is delineated with honeycomb diaper. Such creatures are often depicted encrusted with seaweed, (thus seemingly ‘flaming’), the accretion of seaweed suggestive of age, in a traditional symbol of longevity, which may be extended to suggest immortality. The tortoise, or turtle, which is 12cm high and 20cm wide, has a silver mount to the beak.


Related collections