Sunday, July 31, 2011

Namiki Nippon Art - Crane and Turtle

千年, 亀年。
As the Crane one thousand year, the tortoise ten thousand years

...this is an old Japanese saying describing the symbols of youth and old age (long life), Tsuru (crane) and Kame (turtle).

Tsuru (crane) one of the most commonly used symbols of long life. It is a sacred bird that is said to live 1000 years. The Japanese crested crane (grus japonensis) is most famous as a symbol of peace and long life. They also symbolize marital love and fidelity because these cranes are monogamous, pairing for life, devoted mates in all seasons. At weddings it is customary for family and friends to fold 1,000 gold origami (paper) cranes and hang them together for good luck, fortune and long life to the bride and groom.

Kame (turtle synonymous with tortoise) said to live 10,000 years and is one of the four celestial guardians (dragon, phoenix, tiger and turtle) of Chinese mythology. Symbolic of long life, the kame represents the water element, the yin principle, the northern region and the color black. The turtle is also called the “Black Warrior”, a symbol of strength, endurance and longevity. The tortoise shape symbolizes the entire cosmos, with the dome-shaped back as the sky, the body in the middle the earth, and the undershell the water. 

The Namiki Crane and Turtle is from the Nippon Art series. Like all traditional crane and turtle painting, the crane is always above the turtle. Here it is shown flying in the sky. Other variation of this traditional symbols may show the crane standing on the turtle. 

The pen is painted in the basic maki-e technique, Hira-maki-e (or flat maki-e).

There are no layering in Hira-maki-e. All 'background' image, clouds above the crane and the river next to the turtle, are on the same plane. 

Simple, yet beautiful.

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