Why Are Turtles, Koi, And Elephants Symbolic of Longevity?

Attaching meaning and symbolism to the things around us is what makes us human. It gives us a purpose that goes beyond just surviving, a reason to continue learning and creating and doing the things that differentiate us from any other creature on Earth. But of all the concepts we attach to things, there’s one that seems to be most important to many people across the globe — Longevity.

The idea that having longevity inherently makes something good is one that we attach to a lot of situations in life. We all want to live a long and healthy life, have a lengthy and prosperous career, and of course, build relationships that last the test of time. So when you attach this meaning to other things, like animals, the things that you associate with longevity reflect these hopes back to you. You draw a parallel between yourself and the animal that symbolises your own desires. So when you purchase a Lladró sculpture that depicts these animals, you surround yourself with physical reminders of the hope for a long and fulfilling life.


Lladró’s Sea Turtle Figurines are a stunning reminder of the turtle’s longevity and endurance.

Ask most people to think of an animal that’s associated with longevity and the first thing that comes to mind will probably be a turtle. Most sea turtles live to around 60 years of age — already quite an impressive number for most animals — but like their relative the tortoise, there have been many cases recorded of turtles living for over a century. In fact, in many indigenous cultures from North America to Papua New Guinea creation myths tell us that the turtle lives for so long that he carries the whole world on his back. And as there’s still a lot we don’t know about these incredible creatures, some experts predict that they might really be able to live for up to 500 years!

With a lifespan like that, it’s not surprising that people all around the world believe the turtle is symbolic of a long life. Lladró’s Sea Turtle Figurines capture the graceful essence of these elegant symbols of wisdom, creation, and survival. Made in white porcelain, the shells of these sea turtles are decorated with copper lustre, a conceptual decorative combination for one of the planet’s oldest creatures.


Another common animal to be associated with longevity is the elephant. African elephants can live for around 70 years and their weathered skin and wise looking eyes give them a feeling of ancient wisdom that makes them an obvious choice as a symbol of long life. The symbolism is especially prominent in African countries, like South Africa, who use elephant tusks in their coat of arms to signify the endurance of their nation. Or the West African Kingdom of Dahomey, now part of Benin, who honoured the enduring memory of their ancestors with a proverb: “Where the elephant passes in the forest, one knows”.

Lladró’s many elephant sculptures are the perfect reminder of everything that these gentle giants have come to symbolise. Pieces such as Elephants WalkingLeading the Way, and Following the Path exquisitely capture the wise eyes and textured skin that give elephants the sense of maturity and insight that make them such a symbol of longevity.

Many people think an upward facing trunk like in Elephants Walking brings good luck and a long life.


Lladró’s limited edition Bold Black Leading The Way uses 24k gold lustre to highlight the elephant’s unique features.


Following the Path is the perfect size for gifting — perhaps for a milestone birthday or anniversary?


One animal that you might not automatically think of as a symbol of longevity is the Koi Fish. But unlike the common goldfish, most Koi in Japan actually live for around 40 years. In fact, the oldest known Koi was a Japanese fish named Hanako, who scientists determined lived to the ripe old age of 226 years old! The species is also known for their persistence and ability to survive in both clean and murky water, further adding to their role as a symbol of longevity and hardiness.

This limited edition Koi Fish sculpture features a pair of fish — often seen as a symbol of good fortune and a long life.

Lladró’s limited edition Koi Fish sculpture is expertly handcrafted from colourful glazed porcelain and depicts a pair of koi fish swimming upward towards a lotus flower — a symbol of good fortune, persistence, and longevity. The piece is decorated with enamel work that adds texture and gives the feeling of being underwater.

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