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Inebriation and the qin zither


Yao Shou

Yao Shou, Drinking and composing poetry, 1485. Source.

Inebriation (zui 醉) makes an intrinsic facet of Chinese tradition, even a philosophical place. It’s a serious theme in poetry, finest identified by means of the Tang masters (see e.g. right here, right here, and right here, in addition to quite a few discussions in Chinese, akin to this).

Poets have lengthy praised alcohol as a car for transcendence. But in addition they evoke each the companionship of consuming and the pangs of consuming alone. For the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove sharing wine facilitated their oblivion of the mundane world; Ruan Ji additionally fed into the solitary ethos:

Looking down into my cup, a lot distress,
I consider buddies in former instances.
Facing the wine, I can’t converse,
Melancholy blends with bitterness.

Li Bai drinking

The Tang emperor Minghuang inviting Li Bai to drink. Ming dynasty: supply.

By manner of Tao Yuanming’s “Drinking…

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