Susan-bori Folk Craft

Sasano-Bori Folk Craft | Vintage Japanese Hand Carved Turtle with Hatchling (Minogame) Figure


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-0”w x 2-1/4”l

Offered is a beautiful Sasano-Bori carving of a beautifully detailed green turtle with its hatchling, (Minogame), is made of pine. The face and body of each are creatively painted with a hexagonal design on its shell and has a long tail carved to represent seaweed and algae which enhances the three- dimensional qualities of this figure. It is said that this style of turtle is so old it has a train of seaweed growing on its back, and a symbol of longevity and felicity. The Minogame is regarded as a very auspicious creature and has made appearances in arts, crafts, and even in modern-day popular anime culture. Japanese craftsmen and artists have made crafts and toys for many centuries for it is a favored motif and is featured in traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies. It is stamped Made in Japan on the bottom of the piece and comes in its original cardboard box.

Vintage Condition:Excellent with unusual painted detail work giving depth to the finish. “As is”, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage is noted.

NOTE: About 1100 years ago, Sasano carving began as a charm, hand-carved and painted by farmers in honor of the goddess of Sasano, in Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. This technique has been handed down from generation to generation and was well-known to most Japanese people in the 17th century. Due to the slow economy in Yonezawa at that time, the then shogunate, Yozan Uesugi, actively promoted the carving industry to improve the economy.

Sasano-Bori are made of pine or walnut, Koshiabura and Eniyu and known for the simple rustic, pastoral beauty, strong and flexible, and age beautifully while supporting a technique that is intricate in its construction. "BORI" means carving by chisels. This art has been made with well-trained strokes of a special chisel and even curled thin carving to simulate feathers and shuttlecocks of the birds using the natural look of the material.

Sasano-Bori requires special chisels called Sarukiri and Chijire. The craftsman uses the axe-like Sarukiri as a knife and makes very detailed carvings on a single piece of wood. Several kinds of sharp knives are used to carve and whittle the wood.

There are many different kinds of Sasano-bori each carving has its own meaning. The most famous Cock Hawks, (Otaka Poppo), with other carving including the Peacock, Turkey, Pheasant, Wagtail Owl, Horned Owl, Wagtail Sparrow, Turtle, (‘straw raincoat-turtle’), Monkey, Wild Boar, Cow and Rabbit.This rural elegance can be seen in the resulting distinctive style, which is unparalleled in the field of folk crafts.