Pair of Tsuru and Minogame Candlesticks

Pair of Tsuru and Minogame Candlesticks, 19th century
Attribution unknown
Metal, bronze
RC119.1 and RC119.2
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Pair of Tsuru and Minogame Candlesticks, 19th century

Collected in 1885 by Annie and Merton Russell-Cotes during their trip to Japan, this pair of candlesticks are from the Edo-Meiji Period. The Tsuru (crane) has always been a symbol of success and good fortune in Japanese culture, and when folded in origami, it is believed that one’s ‘heart’s desire’ will come true.

The minogame (‘straw raincoat-turtle’ due to the tail resembling a farmer’s straw coat) is regarded as a very auspicious creature in Japanese culture and is said to live at least a thousand years (with some living up to 10,000 years). The minogame have a long, hairy tail, which is actually seaweed and algae that have grown on its shell due to its ripe old age. In Japanese culture, the minogame represents longevity and wisdom.

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