Bugs

Educator Edie Watts highlights the subtle and surprising instances where bugs are depicted throughout works in the Met's collection.

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I don't know who the mosquito deity was, but I would make offerings to him or her to protect me from bites.

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  • Edie Watts
    1280852
  • Parasol  |  spring/summer 1937  |  Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian)  |  Cotton, wood  |  Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1224)
    8271024
  • Mosquito Deity amulet  |  Late Period, Dynasty 25–30, ca. 712–332 b.c.  |  Egypt  |  Green-and-White banded jasper  |  Gift of Cyril Aldred, 1955 (55.172)
    8551024
  • Fly Whisk (Tahiri [?])  |  early to mid-19th century  |  Probably Rurutu or Tupua'i, Austral Islands, French Polynesia  |  Wood, fiber, human hair  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1487)
    5391024
  • Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis  |  18th century  |  Attributed to Ryûsa (Japanese)  |  Carved ivory  |  Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910 (10.211.1271)
    10241024
  • Autumn Grasses in Moonlight  |  Meiji period, ca. 1872–91  |  Shibata Zeshin (Japanese)  |  Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper  |  The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.137)
    1280933
  • In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World  |  1870  |  Richard Doyle (British)  |  Color lithography  |  Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1970 (1970.565.74)
    1280900
  • Jar with decoration of flowers and insects  |  Joseon dynasty, mid-18th century  |  Korea  |  Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue  |  Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, and Diane Carol Brandt Gift, 2005 (2005.406)
    8921024
  • Portrait of a Carthusian  |  1446  |  Petrus Christus (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.19)
    7441024
  • Portrait of a Carthusian  |  1446  |  Petrus Christus (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.19)
    884884
  • Heart Scarab of Hatnofer  |  New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1492–1473 b.c.  |  Egypt, Upper Egypt  |  Serpentine, gold  |  Rogers Fund, 1936 (36.3.2)
    1280790
  • Rhinoceros beetle box  |  Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, 664–30 b.c.  |  Egypt  |  Bronze or copper alloy  |  Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.855)
    12801007
  • Headdress (Kapurei [?])  |  late 19th–early 20th century  |  Sulka people, New Britain  |  Wood, paint  |  Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1981 (1981.331.1)
    5951024
  • Nose ornament with spiders  |  1st century b.c.–1st century a.d.  |  Peru; Salinar (?)  |  Gold  |  The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1172)
    1280738
  • Coffee service  |  1900–1904  |  Designer: Lèon Kann (French); Sèvres Manufactory (French)  |  Hard-paste porcelain  |  Gift of Diane R. Wolf, 1988 (1988.287.1a, b)
    1280869
  • Coffee service  |  1900–1904  |  Designer: Lèon Kann (French); Sèvres Manufactory (French)  |  Hard-paste porcelain  |  Gift of Diane R. Wolf, 1988 (1988.287.1a, b)
    9651024
  • Tapestry: Portrait of Napoleon I  |  1808–11  |  After a painting by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gèrard (French); Gobelins Royal Manufactory; Workshop of Michel-Henri Cozette (French)  |  High-warp tapestry of wool, silk, and silver-gilt thread  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1943 (43.99)
    7311024
  • Tapestry: Portrait of Napoleon I  |  1808–11  |  After a painting by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gèrard (French); Gobelins Royal Manufactory; Workshop of Michel-Henri Cozette (French)  |  High-warp tapestry of wool, silk, and silver-gilt thread  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1943 (43.99)
    7151014
  • Necklace  |  fall 1938  |  Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian); Jean Clemént (French)  |  Plastic, metal  |  Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1234)
    8141024
  • Hair ornament  |  ca. 1904  |  Louis Comfort Tiffany (American)  |  Silver, enamel, black and pink opals, demantoid garnets  |  Gift of Linden Havemeyer Wise, in memory of Louisine W. Havemeyer, 2002 (2002.620)
    11101024
  • Madonna and Child  |  ca. 1480  |  Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venetian)  |  Tempera and gold on wood  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.5)
    6711024
  • Madonna and Child  |  ca. 1480  |  Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venetian)  |  Tempera and gold on wood  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.5)
    12311024
  • Edie Watts
    1280852
  • My name is Edie Watts, I've worked at this Museum in education for many, many years. And my topic is bugs.

  • Most bugs I've always been interested in, because every summer growing up, I spent on the beach near New York City, in a place that is definitely favored

  • by mosquitoes. I don't know who the mosquito deity was, but I would make offerings to him or her to protect me from bites.

  • From the very earliest age I can remember swatting whenever I heard that buzzing sound that mosquitoes make.

  • In the spring, you begin to hear certain kinds of bugs. The bug that symbolizes the season for me are

  • crickets. In the country, in August, when the moon is full, the nights are always still and you hear the wonderful sounds of the insects. At Fire Island

  • every September, hundreds of monarch butterflies come flying through, all the way to Mexico to spend the winter. Amazing!

  • Some cultures use bugs for symbols.

  • In this beautiful, realistic, gentle portrait of a monk, on the ledge in front of this holy man, is a fly.

  • It is a symbol of mortality. We're all going to be covered with flies one day.

  • The Egyptians were fascinated by the beetle because in the sands they would see these beetles rolling balls of dung around into their nests. They thought,

  • "Ah, a giant invisible beetle moves the sun through the sky." The beetle became a sign of the sun, and of the powers of the king.

  • In Australia, the praying mantis was a symbol of head-hunting, since the female, having mated with the male, then chopped off his head.

  • I don't think any of them are creepy or scary. I think the spiders carry potentially interesting messages.

  • Perhaps some people might not be fond of handling a little bug in pouring their coffee, but oh, I just...I would love it! Isn't it fun to sort of be careful

  • when you take the lid off of the sugar pot and the milk pot—it's just a friendly little bug, it's just a little beetle.

  • Napoleon felt he should have some wonderful emblem embroidered on his robes. The bee

  • is industrious. The bee has a very highly organized society with royalty at the top. And of course the bee can also sting.

  • Most bugs that appear in this Museum are life-size, so you have to

  • really look. And a lot of them tell a story, have a symbol, have a meaning.

  • It sharpens one's eye for looking for details

  • because details can be very important.

  • 2009.300.1224
    Parasol, spring/summer 1937, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian), Cotton, wood Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1224)
  • 55.172
    Mosquito Deity amulet, Late Period, Dynasty 25–30, ca. 712–332 b.c., Egypt, Green-and-White banded jasper Gift of Cyril Aldred, 1955 (55.172)
  • 1979.206.1487
    Fly Whisk (Tahiri [?]), early to mid-19th century, Probably Rurutu or Tupua'i, Austral Islands, French Polynesia, Wood, fiber, human hair The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1487)
  • 10.211.1271
    Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis, 18th century, Attributed to Ryûsa (Japanese), Carved ivory Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910 (10.211.1271)
  • 1975.268.137
    Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period, ca. 1872–91, Shibata Zeshin (Japanese), Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.137)
  • 1970.565.74
    In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World, 1870, Richard Doyle (British), Color lithography Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1970 (1970.565.74)
  • 2005.406
    Jar with decoration of flowers and insects, Joseon dynasty, mid-18th century, Korea, Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, and Diane Carol Brandt Gift, 2005 (2005.406)
  • 49.7.19
    Portrait of a Carthusian, 1446, Petrus Christus (Netherlandish), Oil on wood The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.19)
  • 36.3.2
    Heart Scarab of Hatnofer, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1492–1473 b.c., Egypt, Upper Egypt, Serpentine, gold Rogers Fund, 1936 (36.3.2)
  • 26.7.855
    Rhinoceros beetle box, Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, 664–30 b.c., Egypt, Bronze or copper alloy Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.855)
  • 1981.331.1
    Headdress (Kapurei [?]), late 19th–early 20th century, Sulka people, New Britain, Wood, paint Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1981 (1981.331.1)
  • 1979.206.1172
    Nose ornament with spiders, 1st century b.c.–1st century a.d., Peru; Salinar (?), Gold The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1172)
  • 1988.287.1a,b
    Coffee service, 1900–1904, Designer: Lèon Kann (French); Sèvres Manufactory (French), Hard-paste porcelain Gift of Diane R. Wolf, 1988 (1988.287.1a, b)
  • 43.99
    Tapestry: Portrait of Napoleon I, 1808–11, After a painting by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gèrard (French); Gobelins Royal Manufactory; Workshop of Michel-Henri Cozette (French), High-warp tapestry of wool, silk, and silver-gilt thread Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1943 (43.99)
  • 2009.300.1234
    Necklace, fall 1938, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian); Jean Clemént (French), Plastic, metal Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1234)
  • 2002.620
    Hair ornament, ca. 1904, Louis Comfort Tiffany (American), Silver, enamel, black and pink opals, demantoid garnets Gift of Linden Havemeyer Wise, in memory of Louisine W. Havemeyer, 2002 (2002.620)
  • 49.7.5
    Madonna and Child, ca. 1480, Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venetian), Tempera and gold on wood The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.5)
  • Parasol, spring/summer 1937, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian), Cotton, wood Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1224)
    Mosquito Deity amulet, Late Period, Dynasty 25–30, ca. 712–332 b.c., Egypt, Green-and-White banded jasper Gift of Cyril Aldred, 1955 (55.172)
    Fly Whisk (Tahiri [?]), early to mid-19th century, Probably Rurutu or Tupua'i, Austral Islands, French Polynesia, Wood, fiber, human hair The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1487)
    Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis, 18th century, Attributed to Ryûsa (Japanese), Carved ivory Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910 (10.211.1271)
    Autumn Grasses in Moonlight, Meiji period, ca. 1872–91, Shibata Zeshin (Japanese), Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.137)
    In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World, 1870, Richard Doyle (British), Color lithography Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1970 (1970.565.74)
    Jar with decoration of flowers and insects, Joseon dynasty, mid-18th century, Korea, Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, and Diane Carol Brandt Gift, 2005 (2005.406)
    Portrait of a Carthusian, 1446, Petrus Christus (Netherlandish), Oil on wood The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.19)
    Heart Scarab of Hatnofer, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1492–1473 b.c., Egypt, Upper Egypt, Serpentine, gold Rogers Fund, 1936 (36.3.2)
    Rhinoceros beetle box, Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, 664–30 b.c., Egypt, Bronze or copper alloy Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.855)
    Headdress (Kapurei [?]), late 19th–early 20th century, Sulka people, New Britain, Wood, paint Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1981 (1981.331.1)
    Nose ornament with spiders, 1st century b.c.–1st century a.d., Peru; Salinar (?), Gold The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1172)
    Coffee service, 1900–1904, Designer: Lèon Kann (French); Sèvres Manufactory (French), Hard-paste porcelain Gift of Diane R. Wolf, 1988 (1988.287.1a, b)
    Tapestry: Portrait of Napoleon I, 1808–11, After a painting by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gèrard (French); Gobelins Royal Manufactory; Workshop of Michel-Henri Cozette (French), High-warp tapestry of wool, silk, and silver-gilt thread Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1943 (43.99)
    Necklace, fall 1938, Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian); Jean Clemént (French), Plastic, metal Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1234)
    Hair ornament, ca. 1904, Louis Comfort Tiffany (American), Silver, enamel, black and pink opals, demantoid garnets Gift of Linden Havemeyer Wise, in memory of Louisine W. Havemeyer, 2002 (2002.620)
    Madonna and Child, ca. 1480, Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venetian), Tempera and gold on wood The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.5)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Parasol
    spring/summer 1937
    Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian)
    Cotton, wood
    Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1224)
    Not on view
    The Costume InstituteFirst Floor
    Mosquito Deity amulet
    Late Period, Dynasty 25–30, ca. 712–332 b.c.
    Egypt
    Green-and-White banded jasper
    Gift of Cyril Aldred, 1955 (55.172)
    Not on view
    Egyptian ArtFirst Floor
    Fly Whisk (Tahiri [?])
    early to mid-19th century
    Probably Rurutu or Tupua'i, Austral Islands, French Polynesia
    Wood, fiber, human hair
    The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1487)
    On view: Gallery 353
    Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the AmericasFirst Floor
    Netsuke: Autumn grasses with praying mantis
    18th century
    Attributed to Ryûsa (Japanese)
    Carved ivory
    Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1910 (10.211.1271)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Autumn Grasses in Moonlight
    Meiji period, ca. 1872–91
    Shibata Zeshin (Japanese)
    Two-panel folding screen; ink, lacquer, and silver leaf on paper
    The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.137)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    In Fairyland: A Series of Pictures from the Elf-World
    1870
    Richard Doyle (British)
    Color lithography
    Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1970 (1970.565.74)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Jar with decoration of flowers and insects
    Joseon dynasty, mid-18th century
    Korea
    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue
    Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, and Diane Carol Brandt Gift, 2005 (2005.406)
    On view: Gallery 233
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Portrait of a Carthusian
    1446
    Petrus Christus (Netherlandish)
    Oil on wood
    The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.19)
    On view: Gallery 641
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Heart Scarab of Hatnofer
    New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1492–1473 b.c.
    Egypt, Upper Egypt
    Serpentine, gold
    Rogers Fund, 1936 (36.3.2)
    On view: Gallery 116
    Egyptian ArtFirst Floor
    Rhinoceros beetle box
    Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, 664–30 b.c.
    Egypt
    Bronze or copper alloy
    Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926 (26.7.855)
    On view: Gallery 134
    Egyptian ArtFirst Floor
    Headdress (Kapurei [?])
    late 19th–early 20th century
    Sulka people, New Britain
    Wood, paint
    Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1981 (1981.331.1)
    On view: Gallery 354
    Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the AmericasFirst Floor
    Nose ornament with spiders
    1st century b.c.–1st century a.d.
    Peru; Salinar (?)
    Gold
    The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.1172)
    On view: Gallery 357
    Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the AmericasFirst Floor
    Coffee service
    1900–1904
    Designer: Lèon Kann (French); Sèvres Manufactory (French)
    Hard-paste porcelain
    Gift of Diane R. Wolf, 1988 (1988.287.1a, b)
    On view: Gallery 556
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    Tapestry: Portrait of Napoleon I
    1808–11
    After a painting by Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gèrard (French); Gobelins Royal Manufactory; Workshop of Michel-Henri Cozette (French)
    High-warp tapestry of wool, silk, and silver-gilt thread
    Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1943 (43.99)
    On view: Gallery 553
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    Necklace
    fall 1938
    Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian); Jean Clemént (French)
    Plastic, metal
    Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955 (2009.300.1234)
    Not on view
    The Costume InstituteFirst Floor
    Hair ornament
    ca. 1904
    Louis Comfort Tiffany (American)
    Silver, enamel, black and pink opals, demantoid garnets
    Gift of Linden Havemeyer Wise, in memory of Louisine W. Havemeyer, 2002 (2002.620)
    On view: Gallery 743
    American Decorative ArtsFirst and Second Floors
    Madonna and Child
    ca. 1480
    Carlo Crivelli (Italian, Venetian)
    Tempera and gold on wood
    The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.5)
    On view: Gallery 627
    European PaintingsSecond Floor

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