09 December 2012

A Chinese box

This box came to into my possession in 2007, as we wandered around Bruges on a cold February day and stumbled on a shop selling old Chinese furniture. We went in mainly to get warm, I think, as we certainly couldn't carry one of the lovely cupboards back on the train with us. 

At the back of the shop was a shelf of small objects. The shopkeeper told us that the box was a cage for a cricket, and I was delighted to find that it was relatively inexpensive. 

At the time I was studying Mandarin; one of our readings was about life around about the time this box would have been made, a hundred years ago - a time when children had few toys and their playthings were insects and whatever else they could find and transform with their imagination.
 It was a fortunate little boy who used this carved cage for his cricket; perhaps he looking at enjoyed the scene of scholars, and the bat, symbol of happiness.

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