20: A great Japanese ivory cane of tortoises (minogame)
A great Japanese ivory cane of tortoises (minogame). The elephant ivory handle is 3 2/3" high and 1 1/4" at its widest. It depicts in marvelous detail, a family of tortoises with long hairy tails. (In legend, tortoises or minogame are one of the four supernatural animals: the tiger, the dragon, the howo or phoenix bird, and the tortoise. The classic hairy tail supposedly does not commence growing until it achieves 500 years of age and it is a symbol of longevity. See Legends in Japanese Art by Joly.) There are owner's initials on the lower stem of the handle and there is a 1/2" silver collar marked: "Sterling". The shaft is very dense lignum vitae with a 1 3/8" horn ferrule. The overall length is 36 2/3" and the condition is excellent. It is American with an imported handle, ca 1885. It is an outstanding carved Japanese ivory example. Estimate: $1200-$1800.