Caged singers and fighters: crickets and locusts in China

lecture by Michel Culas, former cultural advisor, historian and writer.

The Chinese have always shown a particular interest in the infinitely small ... Very early insects have figured prominently in legends, poetry, painting, crafts, games, gastronomy and even medicine. It is therefore not surprising that it is to this industrious and meticulous people that we owe the fabulous adventure of the silkworm whose breeding dates back to the 11th century BC
However it is by other qualities that crickets and crickets will conquer the heart of the Chinese. The "Crickets Book" by Jia Setao, Minister of State of the Song Dynasty (13th century) remains a reference in terms of species classification and breeding advice. The famous painter Qi Baishi (1863-1957) painted from nature.

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