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[Tidbits] Meiji Elephant


Japan … land of the rising sun …

Once upon a time the elephant was a man who-- through circumstances
too arcane to ever unearth --was cheated out of all his limbs except
one … and that limb became a trunk when the man became an elephant.
This of course contradicts the old and equally logical belief that
the elephant came from a giant egg dating back to that time when the
world was only eggs and the chicken had not yet been invented. Go

There is a tale told of Nepal where Queen Maya dreamt one night of a
six tusked white elephant entering her body. The sages of the time
interpreted this as an omen that she would bear a son that would
either rule the world or save mankind. She then bore a son: Gautauma
the Buddha. Of course … being a disciple of modern thinking … I
tend to see the dream as having lascivious overtones. But what do I
know? She had the son. The sages were right. And the six tusked white
elephant surely went on its merry way … visiting pleasure palaces
the world round … fulfilling destinies known only to him.

Meiji: The treasures of Imperial Japan. There are artifacts here that
drew universal acclaim in Europe and the US nearly one hundred years
ago. The artistic creations are not to be believed. I have three
images that are nothing short of magnificent. Today you get the

Now … for those of you historically inclined: In the mid 1800’s
Commodore Matthew Perry commandeered an American fleet into Tokyo Bay
in order to open Japan to the western world. The day of the Shogun
was over. The Samurai laid down their swords. The Emperor was
restored to power. It was the dawn of the Meiji Era … a time that
produced unmatched art forms.

This elephant is an incense burner made somewhere around 1890. It is
made of silver and inlaid with–among other materials–coral, agate,
nephrite, tiger’s eye, and malachite.

I don’t have a size. I don’t have a weight. I don’t have a value. I
do however have magnificence. I have incredibleness. I have
splendiferousness. So go. Go. Take a look. Tell me what you think.
And live in ecstasy.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Maiji …
where you’ll see an image of the Elephant Incense Burner.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark