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Meiji Period Shachihoko Copper Okimono - Head of a Tiger and Body of a Carp.
It is a sea monster that has the head of a tiger and the body of a fish. The body is covered with poisonous spikes. On land it can transform itself into a tiger. A representation of the Shachihoko was used in medieval Japan as a gargoyle. In Japanese folklore, a shachihoko, is an animal with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp. It was believed that this animal could cause the rain to fall, and as such, temples and castles were often adorned with shibi in this shape, in order to protect them from fire. .
It¡¯s Japanese Kanji, when pronounced "shachihoko", it refers to the mystical animal mentioned above. But sometimes it is also pronounced as "shachi", it means grampus; a dolphin or orca. This is a source of confusion, even among the Japanese.
Its image is widely believed to be based on Makara of Hindu mythology. (Excerp from Wikipedia)
Measurements: Height x Width x Depth = 34 x 21 x 14 cm.