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These miniature cages are made from various materials and today, used as a way of bringing good luck into the home.  In ancient days, the cricket cage was used for exactly what it sounds like – holding crickets.  The cages are handmade and feature a tiny door that slides open and shut.  On the top of the cricket cage is a small hook or eyelet that can be used to hang it for decoration.  Although cricket cages do come in various sizes, on average, they measure about 3x4 inches. 

When it comes to Chinese superstition, the cricket plays a critical role.  Throughout history, they have resembled intelligence and good fortune.  In fact, if a person were to harm a cricket, it was believed they would have great misfortune.  Even today, in parts of eastern Asian, the male cricket will be caged so people can enjoy the song they make. 

The Chinese culture is filled with interesting and unique facts, with the cricket being one.  Children in China still love catching crickets and placing them in cages.  No doubt, this will be a favorite pastime throughout time. 

The cricket culture in China dates back 2000 years and encompasses singing insects and fighting crickets.  During the Tang Dynasty from 500 BC to 618 AD, the crickets were respected for their powerful ability to “sing”.  It was during this time that they started being captured and kept in cages so their songs could be heard all the time.  In the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1278 AD, a new sport was developed called “cricket fighting”. 

This sport became so popular that China actually produced a Cricket Minister, Jia Shi-Dao who reigned from 1213 to 1275.  However, he was accused of not managing his responsibilities because he was obsessed with the cricket-fighting cult.  Then from 1427 to 1464, a Cricket Emperor, Ming Xuan-Zhong ruled in favor of cricket fighting, making his palace a major tribute to this insect.  Literally thousands of crickets were sent to the capital every year to discover their financial fate.  Amazingly, there are hundreds of documented stories of people committing suicide because of a losing or injured cricket. 

Eventually, even the Chinese farmers would use the cricket to tell them when it was time to start preparing the fields for the spring harvest.  This indicator of climate change is called Jing-Zhe, which translates to “Walking of the Insects”. 

Many famous Chinese songs were written, keeping the sound of the cricket in mind.  For example, the autumn words Qiu, which are used in songs, actually take on the shape of crickets that are inscribed on bones or the shell of a tortoise.  Even well known collections of poems and proverbs have been written that show reverence to the cricket.  Some of these include Shi Jing, Shi Zhong, Sha Ji, and Cu Zhi. 

The combination of singing ability, strength and vitality, and life cycles are what make this a creature of appreciation.  The fact that crickets lay hundreds of eggs lines up perfectly with the Chinese belief that of all the ingredients for life, the one most important for success is to have as many children as possible.

 

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