It's a stack 'o turtles! How these three turtles managed to stack themselves like circus clowns we're not sure but they're all facing the same direction which points to a common goal!
Hand carved from one piece of dark - almost black - boxwood, this Asian netsuke of three turtles is nicely detailed all the way around including all twelve (ack!) legs and their shell patterns. Dimensions are 2" tall, 1 7/8" wide.
Netsuke has evolved from the 17th century Japanese art of carving intricate beads called ojime from bone, stone, wood or ivory. These beads were used to close off clothing and pouches and over the centuries the art of carving intricate miniatures has made netsuke highly collectible. Netsuke can be found in fine museums and galleries all over the globe and carvings often feature the animals or mythic creatures that make up the Asian zodiacs.