ART FROM ANCIENT LANDS
T’ang Dynasty Gold Wine Cup - FJ.6845
See the waters of the Yellow River leap down from Heaven,
Roll away to the deep sea and never turn again!
See at the mirror in the High Hall, Aged men bewailing white locks
In the morning, threads of silk, In the evening flakes of snow.
Snatch the joys of life as they come and use them to the fullest
Do not leave your gold cup idly glinting at the moon,
The things that Heaven made Man was meant to use.
- Excerpt from “Chiang Chin Chiu,” by Li Pu
Li Pu, who lived and wrote during the T’ang Dynasty, is one of the great masters of Chinese poetry. A prolific writer, he composed in a romantic, lyrical style, concerning the glories of this brief life: nature, love, friends, solitude, and wine. He frequently mentions gold wine cups, presumably very similar to this one, as symbols of both wine induced happiness and luxury. Holding this cup in our hands, we are connected to the beauty of life Li Pu memorialized in his poetry. Although life is fleeting and beauty transient, mankind alone is able to transcend the ravages of time by creating artistic works of eternal beauty. The poetry of Li Pu is one such example; this gold wine cup is another. Both are distinct reflections of the culture and period in which they were made. Both reveal a sense of joy and longing, for even as the wine cup is full, we know it will soon be empty. This gold wine cup is more than an example of the extravagant wealth of the T’ang Dynasty, it is an eternal symbol of love, friends, and happiness, all too fleeting, as elegantly described in the works of Li Pu. - (FJ.6845)