This jade cicada is one of the objects that remind me of my childhood memories, family and culture identity. For millennia, the importance of jade stone has been deeply rooted in chinese culture in many aspects, reflecting its status as a symbol of preciousness, virtue and the essence of heaven and the earth. When polished and carved into various articles, jade is attributed with certain cultural characteristics. A cicada goes under the ground for decades and then is “reborn” after shedding its skin, these natural motifs symbolize a protector of great changes and a cure of danger. And because the name of cicada is similar with the pronounce of “knowing” in chinese, it also conveys the wishes of parents for the child to grow up gaining knowledge and intelligence.
Moving here as an emigrant last year was a whole new challenge for me, many things that I’m so familiar with, are not around anymore. Though it is amazing to be able to experience these new changes, however, sometimes it also comes with a sense of loss and nostalgia. But every time I see this little cicada, those memories resurface to my mind, I remember wearing it everyday in my elementary school, I remember how I spent my sweet childhood time with its accompany, I remember my family’s wishes and expectations upon me, I remember the significance of my cultural background. This jade cicada is not only a childhood witness of mine, but also a symbol that reminds me of my core identity.
– Chloe Zhang