This is a suiteki - a 250 years old water dispenser used in Japanese brush painting. It is made from bronze and is one of my favorite treasures. Past years in Japan translate into
periods, and this one makes it Edo-jidai, meaning Edo Period. (Edo is the old name for Tokyo)
It has been cast from bronze and polished afterwards. It has a small opening for water intake at the top. The artist pours the water into the 'suzuri' (ink stone) by tipping
it - the drops of water come out of the turtles mouth.
This is not an ordinary turtle - see it's features. It has ears and it resembles the known form of a Chinese dragon. It is one of the four mistical figures
in the Far East: the dragon, the tiger, the crane and the turtle - symbols of the four geographical directions.