Li Bai Getting Drunk
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Li Bai (李白, courtesy name Taibai 太白, 701–762) from Tang dynasty (618–907) was one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. He was also famous for his love of wine and was extremely productive in writing poems while he got tipsy.
Typically, the scene in Fig. 3 depicts one of the Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, a painting subject based on the poem ‘A Song to the Eight Intoxicated Literati 饮中八仙歌’ by the Tang dynasty poet, Li Bai’s friend and counterpart, Du Fu (杜甫 712–770). In the poem, Du Fu chose eight prominent men of letters of his time and portrayed them with their drunken antics. Here are his lines for Li Bai (refer to Fig 4):
As for Li Bai, give him a jugful,
He will write one hundred poems.
He drowses in a wine-shop
On a city street of Capital Chang’an;
And though His Majesty calls,
He will not board the imperial barge.
“Please your Majesty,” says he,
“I am a god of wine.”
In Fig. 3, Li Bai appears a bit tipsy, surrounded by wine jars and huge drinking vessels, while the courtier is trying to present him with a scroll of the emperor’s edict.
story scene description by Dr Yibin Ni
People who appear drunk in other story scenes:
Fig 1: brush washer, 13th century, courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Fig 2: gold octagonal cup, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), courtesy of Capital Museum, Beijing, China
Fig 3-4: porcelain cup with overglaze enamelled decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Jie Rui Tang Collection
Fig 5-6: porcelain water pot, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Fig 7: porcelain water pot, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Fig 8: porcelain water pot, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Fig 9: Taibai Getting Drunk 太白醉酒图, hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper, Su Liupeng (1791–1862), Qing dynasty (1644–1911), courtesy of Shanghai Museum, China
Fig 10: porcelain dish with overglaze enamelled decoration, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art