string(25) "edanmdm:fsg_F1984.38.2a-c" Cricket cage - National Museum of Asian Art

Cricket cage

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    19th century, or possibly early 20th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Gourd, ivory
  • Dimension

    H x W: 16.2 x 7 cm (6 3/8 x 2 3/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    This cricket-cage gourd has six vertical mould marks clearly visible on its exterior. A plain ivory rim supports an elaborately carved reticulated ivory lid. Carved as a moveable unit is a large tortoise, with its four feet locked into curving waves. Standing atop the tortoise (or the White Turtle) are characters from the famous Chinese novel Hsi-yu-chi (Chn), translated by Arthur Waley as Monkey. At the center is the Chinese Buddhist monk, Hsuan-tsang (Chn), with his horse at his right. Immediately behind the head of the tortoise is Monkey, while Pigsy (chu-pa-chieh, Chn) guards the rear. Another guardian figure, Sandy (sha-ho-shang, Chn) looks to the left. The scene depicts the episode from Chapter XXIX, "Hsi-yu-chi," which Waley translated as follows:
    The White Turtle was nearing the shore. "I've been waiting for you all this time," he said, craning his neck. "We are very glad to meet you," said Monkey, "come a little closer in." The turtle then sidled up to the bank and Monkey led the horse on to its broad back. Pigsy squatted behind its tail, Tripitaka [i.e. Hsuan-tsang] stood on one side of its head, Sandy on the other. Monkey stood with one foot on its neck and the other on its head. "Now then, old turtle," he said," go steadily," and the turtle set off smoothly and easily across the waters, carrying the whole company uneventfully till evening fell and they had almost reached the other side." (p. 292)
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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