Friday, July 12, 2013

Chinese Silver Ornaments

Pictures below show the Chinese silver ornaments in my collection. These group of good Chinese pieces are hammered silver pieces that were used for sewing onto clothing. They have various meanings of health, strength and protection to the one who wears it.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Chinese Porcelain Covered Cricket Box

Keeping crickets as pets emerged in China in early antiquity. In the early 12th century, the Chinese people began holding cricket fights. Throughout the Imperial era, the Chinese also kept pet cicadas and grasshoppers, but crickets were the favorites in the Forbidden City and with the commoners alike. The art of selecting and breeding the finest fighting crickets was perfected during the Qing dynasty and remained a monopoly of the imperial court until the beginning of the 19th century.

The Imperial patronage promoted the art of making elaborate cricket containers and individual cricket homes. Traditional Chinese cricket homes come in three distinct shapes: wooden cages, ceramic jars, and gourds. Cages are used primarily for trapping and transportation. Gourds and ceramic jars are used as permanent cricket homes in winter and summer, respectively. They are treated with special mortar to enhance the apparent loudness and tone of a cricket's song. The imperial gardeners grew custom-shaped molded gourds tailored to each species of cricket. Their trade secrets were lost during the Chinese Civil War and the Cultural Revolution, but crickets remain a favorite pet of the Chinese to the present day.

A cricket's life span is short which the development from an egg to imago takes from one to two months. The imago then lives for around one month. Cricket hobbyists have to frequently replace aging insects with younger ones which are either specifically bred for cricket fighting or caught in the wild. This makes crickets less appealing as pets in Western countries. The speed of growth, coupled with the ease of breeding and raising larvae, makes industrial-grown crickets a preferred and inexpensive food source for pet birds, reptiles, and spiders.

Pictures below show my collection of the 19th century Chinese porcelain covered cricket box with the unclear mark on the base of the box.

Height: 3.5cm, Length: 10.5cm, Diameter: 6.5cm

Chinese porcelain covered cricket box.

Inside of the Chinese porcelain covered cricket box.

The base of the Chinese porcelain covered cricket box with the unclear mark.

The painting on the Chinese porcelain covered cricket box.

Also check on the "19th Century Chinese Silver And Cloisonné Enamel Cricket Cage".