Ishigami tsuru



A crane okimono
Stone embedded in a root and lacquer
Japan, Edo-Meiji period, 19th century
H.: 27 cm

In Japan, Tsuru, the crane, is among the most valuable symbolic animals. Japanese legends mingle with Chinese myths to bestow all manner of qualities on this graceful bird. And for the farmer, the crane brought all the various types of seeds in its long beak, and introduced rice culture in the archipelago. The crane is also a symbol of maternal love and faithfulness in the couple. Many tales speak of loves of a human with a tsuru-nyū-bō, a crane metamorphosed into a woman of great beauty.