How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Robert S. Your Own Question
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
Type Your Antiques Question Here...
Robert S. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I recently got this large turtle and 12 babies at an estate

Customer Question

I recently got this large turtle and 12 babies at an estate sale in Rockford IL. They appear to be painted Asian pottery.There is a lot of detail carved into the pottery. I will try to send pics. Any info would be appreciated - who, what, where, and what the value might be.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi David,

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your turtles.

Could you very kindly attach a photo or two, and one showing the unglazed clay and any marks there may be.

Many thanks and wait to hear,
Robert S.

PS. Once you have the photos in your computer, it's a simple matter to attach them. Just click on the paperclip icon, located above the text box where you are typing to me. If there's no paperclip, click on the "Add files" tab.

If you get stuck go here for help.

Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi David,
Thanks for the helpful photos which have now been forwarded to me.

This is indeed a curiosity and quite a whimsical creation with all its 12 babies.

The decoration of little circles and the fern-like lappet band is certainly typical of Chinese, or more specifically, southeast Asian decoration, of the sort seen in the Burmese or Thai decorative arts. The scrolling foliate pattern is a typical Burmese decorative motif known as maw-pan.

In the Asian tradition the turtle or tortoise represents strength, endurance and longevity. It's also become a highly popular symbol in the practice of feng shui where it is often depicted on a pile of cash coins and with a number of its babies around it or on its back, and believed to be attributed with the power to attract wealth and to advance ones career.

The small circle motifs on yours are most likely coin symbols in miniature and, as such, I would say this is an early version of a tortoise adapted and decorated for feng shui use, probably dating to the early 20th century.

As for value, it is certainly a large and decorative figural group and would certainly appeal to tortoise/turtle collectors, a significant force independent from the Asian feng shui market. So, if you were to see this set for sale in an antique store, it would have a full retail value of at least $300.

This is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps!

Best wishes,

PS. If there's anything more I can help you with on this, please don't hesitate to ask. If not, could you very kindly rate my services (with the stars or "accept" button) as this is how I get paid by JustAnswer at no extra cost to you. We can still continue to communicate here on this thread after you do. And if you have another item you'd like to ask me about, just start a new Question and put "For Robert S....." in the subject line. Thanks, R.