Elephant in the room: Ivory

China has long used ivory in traditional medicines, carvings, and even utilitarian objects like this cricket container. 

Cricket culture in China dates back at least 2,000 years. So prized were the insects, kept for both their singing and fighting abilities, their owners purchased elaborate cages to hold them. This one, made of ivory, suggests a time when elephants were more plentiful, or less valued, than crickets.        — Diane Richard, writer, January 12, 2017

Image: Cricket-fights, engraving, 1879

Timed to coincide with the recent announcement by China to halt its commercial trade of ivory, “Elephant in the Room: Ivory” is a series that highlights the use of ivory across various cultures represented in Mia’s collection. As China’s largest consumer, for art and traditional medicine, the announced ban could protect the lives of thousands of elephants a year.