What is it about turtles that makes carved turtle figurines so appealing? It isn’t just that they’re charming, although they are probably the most appealing and friendliest looking of the reptiles.
It’s also that turtles have been associated with mythology in many cultures and have a long history in art and literature around the world. In addition, turtles are an animal that most of us seldom see in the wild. They are elusive creatures totally at home in a mysterious and beautiful underwater world.
Turtle sculptures sometimes depict the roles that turtles have played in folklore. In India, tradition had it that the world rested on the backs of four elephants that in turn were standing on a turtle. In native North American legend, the turtle was said to have brought up the mud to make the earth from the sea floor.
In the Far East people believed that the turtle’s shell symbolized heaven, while its flat underside symbolized the Earth. In all of these cultures, carved turtle figurines have a long history and deep symbolic meaning.
Today, turtle sculptures and other turtle art have transcended symbolic tradition. Both makers of fine collectibles and professional artists have used the turtle as a subject for works of art of every description. There are carved wooden turtles hand painted with intricate illustrations; turtle designs in wrought iron and glass, cast aluminum turtles, tin, brass, marble, and turtles in just about every other material.
Likewise, carved turtle figurines come in every style imaginable. The turtle is a wonderful choice for a collectible because they come in so many variations that there will always be something new.
Turtle figurines are readily available on the internet. Some internet sites have whole collections of turtles including sea turtles and baby turtles. Some are depicted in a natural, true-to-life pose, while others have character and attitude. One turtle may be saying Happy Birthday, while another looks like it came straight from the art gallery.
Other items besides turtle sculptures are available as well: bath stoppers, fan pulls, planters, switch plates, piggy banks, and a whole range of fashion accessories depict turtles for the avid collector.
For the shopper who’s just starting a collection of carved turtle figurines, surfing the internet is a perfect way to get an idea of what’s available, and to gather some initial information on prices. Comparison shopping has never been easier, and you can move from one retail site to another with such ease and speed that it hardly seems like shopping.
For the collector who already has some turtle sculptures, and is looking for their next acquisition, the internet is, likewise, a great place to browse. The possibilities in local retail outlets will be exhausted long before the internet possibilities are.
Not surprisingly, prices of carved turtle figurines vary as much as the pieces do themselves. For the collector on a tight budget, there are lots of sites that have small turtles for under $10US, and even among these cheaper pieces, there is considerable variety and style to choose from.
From there, the sky’s the limit: the collector with lots of money to spend on a favorite pastime will find beautiful turtle sculptures and artwork for $50, $100, even $1500. It seems fitting, somehow, that an animal that can hold up four elephants and the Earth, should be the subject of elegant artwork that’s not just decorative, but also very valuable.