"A very rare and finely detailed Japanese articulated wood dragon okimono, inlaid eyes, one tail flame restored. 19th centruy, 12 1/2” long. No comparable for this creature, in this size, could be found in any kind of wood.
Unlike the Imperial Chinese dragon which has five toes, the Japanese dragon (tatsu) has three toes. The dragon is one of the twelve animals of the duodenary cycle; it is thought to have supernatural powers. Of all the supernatural creatures, none is more often represented in the Japanese fine and decorative arts. The dragon’s claws are in the fork of the lightning, his scales glisten and he reveals himself in the storm clouds; he is the spirit of change and of life." - Bernie McManus, Appraiser, Woodbury House, Connecticut, 9/15/2004