Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国)

Print: Three Long-Tailed Turtles (minogame 蓑亀 or みのがめ)
with a message of felicitations - kotobuki (寿)

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Dates: circa 1800 - 1805,created
Dimensions: 10.0 in,15.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)

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Physical description:

This unusual print of 'long-tailed turtles' has no publisher's seal and no censor's seal. It is a bit of an enigma. It is printed and functions very much like a surimono. The embossed character toward the top, slightly left of center, reads: 寿 or 'kotobuki'. This makes a lot of sense since 寿 means 'long-life', 'congratulations', 'felicitations', etc. Of course, while this helps our understanding of this print. it still remains an enigma. Notice, too, that the somewhat dark, horizontal band - a cloud? - in the upper left draws our attention to the embossed character. From the look of it is was printed with a metallic ink, much as found on many surimonos and deluxe edition prints.

Credit should be given to our contributor, Eikei, for translating this character 寿 for us.