Turtle-shaped graves

“Turtle-shaped graves” is the second case of a special category of turtle sculptures that we have described. Just like Bixi, here too, according to the name, we are dealing with graveyard objects (although in the case of Bixi it is not always their nature), the main difference is that these graves actually hide the body, they are located directly above the buried person, while the Bixi were only “nearby”.

Such structured graves can be found in the Chinese Fujian region, on the Japanese Ryukyu Islands and in the Vietnamese Quang Nam province.

The shape of the tombstone is clearly turtles – in the place where the head could be expected, there are inscriptions informing whose grave it is. An important detail is also the fact that the element-shell is inscribed in the symbols of the letter Omega, you can also call this horseshoe shape – the opening is from the “head” side.

The Ryūkyū Islands are dominated by larger versions, more like tombs than graves. Over time, other members of the family to which the given object belongs are buried in such a tomb. Due to their size and solidity, during the Second World War, for the time of bombings during the Battle of Okinawa, many families took refuge inside such family tombs.

The exact symbolism is not clear, some suggest connections with the fact that turtles are long-lived and thus wanted to ensure longevity to the descendants of the deceased, others says, that it is a form of putting the deceased under the care of the Chinese god Xuanwu, whose symbol is the Black Turtle.



Sources: wikipedia.org, oki-islandguide.com, okinawaindex.com

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