Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

8.05.2008

Chinese Cricket Boxes

Here's a new topic to research: Chinese cricket boxes. As I understand it, crickets are an ancient part of Chinese culture and traditionally were kept in homes for their musical sounds. Of course it followed that the Chinese, revered for their refined aesthetics, crafted exquisite boxes for this practice.

Suzanne Rheinstein's alternate use of these old blue-and-white pierced cricket boxes as votives is, to me, quite inspired. They must look magical at night, whether used indoors or on a patio. So maybe this will give you something new to look for the next time you are in an antique shop. I'm definitely going to inquire about them when I find myself in an Asian store. (Click to enlarge and enjoy the details.)

[Image is from Designing Women: Interiors By Leading Style-Makers]

15 comments:

Sarah's Fab Day said...

These totally remind me of my grandma. She told me what they were for as a child and I was flabbergasted that anyone would want a bug for a pet. I'm thinking that votives are a much better use for them.

pve design said...

Jiminy Cricket, makes me want one of those boxes for a fishing adventure. We used to use crickets as bait.
If I were a cricket, one of those silver boxes would be my bait. I can hear the cricket symphony playing...
cricket, cricket...!

Style Court said...

Hi Sarah, glad these remind you of your grandmother. I think there are some key scenes in The Last Emperor where, as a child, the emperor plays with a cricket -- I'm still learning about this.

Style Court said...

Patricia -- I forgot about Jiminy Cricket when I put this together :)

ohyouprettythings said...

This is an absolutely fabulous idea! So gorgeous!

Style Court said...

Pretty Things -- glad you like this idea!

Pigtown-Design said...

I remember having little pierced brass ones as a child... but I think using them for votives are a much more clever use for them.

Style Court said...

Meg -- do you still have them? I bet they are very elegant.

Mrs. Blandings said...

I must have this book - especially if it contains this image with Le Lac used so beautifully. Swoon.

Style Court said...

Patricia -- yes, Margaret Russell did such a good job with this one and the Rheinstein breakfast room/library -- esp. this incarnation -- should be in your collection.

Ulla said...

What an inspired idea! Many cricket boxes are all wood however, including the one I own, Now I need to search out a ceramic one...

Style Court said...

Ulla --- thanks for letting us know that many are wood, (I think maybe bone too) that's a helpful point.

Mélanie said...

these boxes are gorgeous ! And I love the chinese aesthetic

simply seleta said...

What an interesting piece of history. I may borrow a cricket and experiment with this sound in our home one night. The offspring will get a kick out of that. Need to find a cricket box....

Style Court said...

Yes, kids would be fascinated by this :)