These “Uzura-Guruma” are children’s toys and a charm that was once sold the gates at the temples of Hisamine and Hokke-dake in Kyushu, at the southern tip of Japan. The “Uzura-Guruma” is a piece of crudely-shaped wood with operable wheels. It has a pattern on its body, speckled in red and black colors. In spite of its rough appearance it is nicely decorated to resemble the bird, (Quail), from which it was inspired. ‘Quail toy cars’, as they are referred to, actually happen to be purely toy cars, however, they come in varying sizes and styles. These wooden birds have a small head, a short tail, and a round body. Condition: Both pieces are great for their age. The mother, (larger bird) is signed. Dimensions: Larger – 3-1/2”w x 4-3/4”d x 4-1/4”h. Smaller – 2-0”w x 2-1/2”d x 2-1/8”h.
Additional Information —
Since the Edo era, the quail has been a familiar bird in the Miyazaki region, and local people adore them. The story is told that once long in the past, an immigrant from Kudara, on the Korean Peninsula, lived to the age of 100 years, and on the occasion of his 100th anniversary, made the “Uzura-Guruma” to be handed down to his descendants. (It was a local practice to keep the birds so as to enjoy their calling). This type of toy is now regarded as a charm to ensure easy childbirth, and is purchased widely by citizens of this region for that purpose.
A Word About what the Japanese love about the Quail —The common Japanese quail is a small ground-nesting game bird of the pheasant family. With its characteristic call of “wet my lips”, this species of quail is more often heard than seen. Quail nest on the ground, usually beneath a shrub or in other protective cover. Both the female and the male brood the eggs, and both cooperate in raising the chicks. Quail chicks are precocious and follow their parents, feeding themselves.
Excellent Condition- In unused, or like-unused condition. No visual or structural or surface wear or damage shown. Pristine. As good as the day it was made.
Great Condition- Appears in slightly used condition but looks "Like New". Some minor wear, but retains the original craft/workmanship. May show minor wear, that does not affect the main design, or associated motif. No cracks, dents, chips or missing elements.
Good Condition- Minor wear which can be restored or repaired; may have surface flaws, like staining or soiling, confined to a small area. The flaw(s) are counterbalanced by another feature, like brilliant color or innovative design. Some fading or the piece may have been altered in some fashion.
Fair Condition- Main aesthetic/design showing damage. Excessive noticeable wear or damage. Worth buying if can be restored/repaired because of its aesthetic or design appeal or rarity. Note: wear/damage consistent with age/use can often enhance the 'Antique' qualities of a piece, giving it a desirable second chance in one's collection