Wooden okimono sculpted as a lunar toad with three legs. It is sculpted in a bamboo’s rhizome.
Chan Chu, the toad with three legs, is mentioned in “Songs of Chu” by the poet Qu Yuan. He compares the moon with the round toad which three legs represent the three phases of the moon.
For some authors, the toad on the moon is the beautiful Chang-e who was turned into a toad by the queen of the western palace. She wanted to get revenge on the thief of the herbs of immortality. She used to be the most beautiful woman of the world but is now damned to live far from the man while making the elixir of life.
Another legend states that the toad is the companion of Liu Hai Chan (which means Marine Toad), an alchemist and wizard who is one of the Eight Immortals in the Chinese mythology. His nickname come from a story named “Liu Hai Chan tempts the toad”: he captures a greedy amphibian genius with three legs hidden in a lake or in a well thanks to a handful of coins.
Whatever are the circumstances of their meeting, Chan Chu and Liu Hai become friends quickly and decide to travel the world together, the toad is used as a flying carpet by his friend.
Japan, Showa period (1926-1989).
Ht : 2,4 in – Lg : 3,5 in