Japanese antique large censer depicting the fisherman Urashima Taro from the fairy tale, Otogi Banashi. In the story, the fisherman discovers some children on the beach toying with a turtle. Urashima Taro buys the turtle from them and sets him free. The turtle grows in size and carries Urashima Taro down beneath the sea to the Dragon Palace (Ryugu-jo) where he is met and thanked by the Princess Otohime. After a few days, Urashima Taro decides to return to the world above the sea. The princess gives him a box as a gift but warns him never to open it. Upon returning to land from what the fisherman thought was just a short time away, he finds that actually 100 years has past. He is still as young as the day he entered the sea but, upon opening the box, he turns into an old man.
This censer is carved of boxwood and has details in lacquer. The eyes of the fisherman are inlaid glass. When incense is placed inside the shell of the turtle, the smoke exits through the mouth of the fisherman.
Meiji Period (1868-1912)
<Dimensions: 15 1/2" high x 23" long x 12 1/2" wide.