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The Chinese Art of Cricket Keeping at the San Antonio Museum of Art

Carved Gourd Cricket Cage with Boys Playing with Crickets Qing Dynasty, 18th - 19th c.

Carved Gourd Cricket Cage with Boys Playing with Crickets Qing Dynasty, 18th - 19th c.

The Chinese Art of Cricket Keeping: The Ernest K. H. Lee Collection
San Antonio Museum of Art
December 3, 2011 through June 15, 2012

The Asian Art department at the San Antonio Museum of Art is long-known for organizing engaging exhibitions, and the current Chinese Art of Cricket-Keeping: The Ernest K. H. Lee Collection is no exception.

John Johnston, the Coates-Cowden-Brown Curator of Asian Art and show organizer presents a lecture on Tuesday, February 21 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. where he discusses the ancient Chinese custom of keeping crickets.

According to Johnston, “Crickets have been kept in China for over 1,000 years for one of two reasons: their song or, more commonly, for fighting.” Over the years, a variety of cricket-keeping accoutrements have been used to facilitate the practice of collecting the small insects. Tiny cages for singing crickets allowed owners to enjoy an evening stroll with their diminutive pets, and small arenas provided the venue for the “cricket fighting:” a widespread and popular pastime that even provided an opportunity for gambling. In addition to the cages and fighting arenas, the exhibition also showcases food and water trays, brushes, tongs, cricket-catchers, fighting arenas, scales, carrying tubes, cricket coffins, and even cricket beds.

Johnston lecture takes during HEB Free Tuesdays at the Museum, and the exhibition: The Chinese Art of Cricket-Keeping: The Ernest K. H. Lee Collection is on display in the Asian Art Special Exhibitions Gallery and closes on June 15, 2012.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery along the celebrated new Museum Reach section of the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. SAMA’s collection contains more than 25,000 works of art representing over 5,000 years of history and cultures from around the world. SAMA conducts more than 500 guided tours annually and provides approximately 200 educational programs each year. Programs include lectures, concerts, films, children’s workshops, scholarly symposia, family art activities, and special exhibitions.

Carved Gourd Cricket Cage with Boys Playing with Crickets Qing Dynasty, 18th - 19th c.

Carved Gourd Cricket Cage with Boys Playing with Crickets Qing Dynasty, 18th - 19th c.

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