A turtle and a frog stand braced on the carapace of a larger turtle

Osaka, circa 1890

A turtle and a frog stand braced on a larger turtle

A turtle and a frog stand braced on the carapace of a larger turtle, their arms locked as they struggle to overcome each other in a wrestling match. The details of the wrinkled reptilian skin is carved in fine detail, as are the shells of the turtles, reflecting the carver’s keen observation of his subjects. The eyes of both are inlaid in dark horn and the himotoshi are banded in horn.

A turtle and a frog stand braced on a larger turtle
A turtle and a frog stand braced on a larger turtle

Signed in a sunken oval reserve: Chuichi

Width: 5.6cm

Particularly recognised for his carvings of turtles, Chuichi’s work was much copied by inferior carvers for the export market, none of such carvings replicating the consummate craftsmanship of his work. Reikichi records that he died in Port Arthur, Manchuria in the early 20th century.

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