Double snuff bottle with crickets

Place made: 
Asia; China
Double snuff bottle with crickets, late 19th century (Qing dynasty)
Hard-paste porcelain and silver; underglaze blue and polychrome; overglaze enamels with feldspathic glaze
Overall: 2 1/16 in x 1 15/16 in x 1 in; 5.2 cm x 4.9 cm x 2.5 cm; Base: 11/16 in x 2 3/8 in x 1 5/16 in; 1.7 cm x 6 cm x 3.3 cm (2 in [with stopper, without base])
Bequest of Josephine Purtscher Fellows (Class of 1924)
MH 1986.33.325

This double snuff bottle is remarkable for its exquisite shape, as well as its intricately painted crickets. Keeping crickets as pets emerged in Tang dynasty (618-906 CE) China and various associated pastimes developed, such as cricket fighting and associated gambling. The selecting and breeding of crickets reached its height during the Qing dynasty, eventually spreading beyond the elite to other classes.