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Chinese Culture of Drinking

8.1 Historical Stories on Chinese Alcoholic Beverage

8.1.1 Indulgence in Drinks and Lust for Beauties

Almost all the emperors of late Shang Dynasty were characteristic of lusting after beauties and exerting cruelty on people, indulging in comfort and pleasure. The aristocrats then were all fond of alcoholic drinks. According to modern conjecture, people living in Shang Dynasty were getting poorer and poorer in health because most alcoholic vessels and wares were made of bronze at that time, which were composed of tin, a poisonous substance easy dissolve in drinks, which would do harm to people's health after they drank . Emperor Zhou was typical of a luster for beauties and drinks. ¡¶ Shi Ji. Yin Ben Ji ¡· recorded, "Emperor Zhou ordered his men to gather much drink contained in a pool and hang a forest of pieces of meat, then ordered men and women unclothed to run after one another among the meat forest while he and his ministers drank day and night." The following generations usually used " a drink pool and a forest of pieces of meat " to describe a luxurious life and lust for sexual desire. That Emperor Zhou's savage dictatorship and indulgence in drinks resulted in the extinction of his power. Zhou Dynasty issued a severe forbidden-drink order in the districts where people used to be ruled by Shang Dynasty.

There were countless cases in the ancient times that over-drinking led to miss good chances, sometimes even lose some emperors' and kings' powers. One case was that King Gong of Kingdom Chu led his armies to fight against the armies of Kingdom Jin in Yan Ling . Kingdom Chu was defeated and King Gong's eye was hit by an arrow. In order to prepare for the next battle, King Gong sent for Zi Fan, a general of Kingdom Chu's armies. To his astonishment, Zi Fan Got drunk and couldn't come to discuss the military affairs. King Gong sighed in despair, " My army doomed to failure. " No way out, he was forced to retreat from the battle field. Zi Fan was punished to death for his violation against the army's rules .

That Emperors or kings sometimes got drunk could bring into a good end, e.g. Qi Hangong, king of Kingdom Qi lost his crown while he got drunk. He felt disgraced for it and didn't hold court for three days during which a great natural disaster took place, a lot of people had no food to eat. No way out, Guan Zhong, prime minister of Kingdom Qi, had to make his own decision to distribute the grain of state barn to those having no food, people were wild with joy. There spread a fold song saying why Qi Hanggong didn't lose his crown once more.

8.1.2 Reward Armies with A Single Cup of Alcoholic Mash

During Spring-and-Autumn Age of Eastern Zhou Dynasty, Gou Jian, King of Kingdom Yue, after defeated by Fu Chai, king of Kingdom Wu, ordered his people to give more births so as to realize his goal of restoration of a dethroned monarch and the plan of ten years' preparation with great efforts and ten years' unforgettable lessons, encouraging those with more births with alcohol: the couple having one more son would be rewarded with two jars of alcohol and one dog, and the couple having one more daughter would be rewarded with two jars of alcohol and one young pig. At the moment King Gou Jiang led his armies to suppress Kingdom Wu, his people presented tasteful alcohol to King Gou Jian. He didn't enjoy it by himself but poured it into the upper part of a river and shared with all the officers and soldiers, which extremely excited and encouraged all the armies. Nowadays, there still exists an alcoholic drink named " Tou Lao He " --namely Pouring-into-rever Drink.

There was a story similar to what was talked above recorded in a book ¡¶ Jiu Pu ¡·. During the Warring-State Period, Qin Mugong, king of Kingdom Qin, sent his armies to suppress Kingdom Jing. When arriving at the riverside, Qin Mugong intended to reward his army men with alcohol in order to encourage their bravery and loyalty, but owned only one pot of alcoholic mash. Someone presented a suggestion that even though there was one grain of rice, if cast into the river, your majesty could also share it with all the army men. Accepting it he poured the alcoholic mash into the river, all the army men got drunk after having it.

8.1.3 Handan Was Occupied Because of Kingdom Lou's Inadequate Gift of Alcohol

This story took place When Chu Xuanwang, King of Kingdom Chu, was in the most powerful position. He had a meeting to interview all the dukes or princes. Duke Gong of Kingdom Lou was late for the meeting with an inadequate gift of alcoholic drinks. Chu Xuanwang felt much angrier at it. Duke Gong said that he was descended from Emperor Zhou and had made contributions to the founding of Zhou Dynasty, he felt disgraced for sending the gift of alcohol. He blamed Chu Xuanwang for discontention of inadequate alcoholic drink and thought that Chu Xuanwang's doings went too far. After that Duke Gong gloomily left for his territory without saying farewell to Chu Xuanwang. Chu Xuanwang then launched a military attack on Kingdom Lou and asked Kingdom Qi's help to let his armies cross Qi's territory (for Kingdom Qi was situated Between Kingdoms Lou and Chu ) to suppress Kingdom Lou. Liang Huiwang, King of Kingdom Qi , had a ling-time dream to invade Kingdom Zhao, however, he was afraid of Kingdom Chu's help when Kingdom Zhao was in danger. This time since Kingdom Chu asked for his help, he needn't worry about Kingdom Chu's attack on his country. So Handan, capital of Kingdom Zhao without knowing why became the victim of the incident.

8.1.4 Hong Men Feast

During late Qin Dynasty, Liu Bang and Xang Yu led their own forces each to battle against the armies of Qin Dynasty. Liu Bang occupied Xian Yang (Capital of Qin Dynasty ) first, but Liu Bang's armed forces were not as powerful as Xian Yu's. Xuan Yu filled with great anger when he heard the news, ordering his general named Dang Yangjun to command the armies making an attack. After entering Xian Yang, Xang Yu stationed his armies at Xi-xi, while Liu Bang stationed his forces at Bashang. One of Liu Bang's ministers named Chao Wushang sent a messenger to report to Xian Yang that Liu Bang intended to be king of Guanzhong ( Shanxi province ). Xian Yu filled even greater anger When he heard the news, then he gave an order that all the army men should have enough breakfast the next day and launched a big attach upon Liu Bang's armies, defeating them in a sudden. Liu Bang was shocked when he heard the news from Xian Yu's younger uncle named Xian Bo, an unavoidable miserable war would immediately break out. In order to win Xian Bo's support and sympathy, with great respect , Liu Bang presented a cup of alcohol with two hands , wishing Xian Bo to enjoy a long and healthy life and both agreed to become related by marriage. That Liu Bang sought for sympathy and affection won over Xian Bo, who promised to say beautiful words before Xian Yu for Liu Bang and invited Liu Bang to come over to thank for Xian Yu's kindness and generosity the next day. At the following day's feast, although there were many more tasteful drinks and delicious dishes than necessary needs, a terrifying atmosphere hanged over the scene, Fan Zheng, enjoying a respectable and wise parenthood, favored to kill Liu Bang all the time. At Hong Men Feast, he repeatedly gave hints meaning that Xian Yu should order to seize and kill Liu Bang on the spot. However, Xian Yu ignored his hints and hesitated to make a decision. Fan Zheng, seeing the situation, ordered Xian Zhuang to perform the sword art dance, pretending to add more pleasure to the feast apparently, but in fact taking a chance to kill Liu Bang. In order to protect Liu Bang, Xian Bo stood to perform the sword art dance, too and saved Liu Bang's life. At this critical and dangerous moment, Fan Kuai, one general of Liu Bang's, broke into the gate of feast tent with great anger. Seeing the general outstanding in manner, Xian Yu was obliged to ask his name and rank in the army, then ordered to award Fan Kuai with a ham, questioning whether he was able to have a drink or not. Fan Kuai answered that he was even not afraid of death, it was unnecessary for him to refuse to have a cup of alcohol. Fan Kuai took the opportunity to numbered a lot of Liu Bang's merits, while Xian Yu could find suitable words to reject. Liu Bang seized the chance to flee away. Zhang Liang, one of Liu Bang's important ministers, entered to express the excuse that Liu Bang got drunk and couldn't come to bid farewell to your majesty. Chang Liang then presented a pair of perfectly-white jade to Xian Yu and a pair of jade to Fan Zheng on behalf of Liu Bang. Xian Yu, who didn't know what they really drove at, accepted them puzzledly. Seeing the situation, Fan Zheng, his anger going beyond the control, pulled his sword and chopped the jade into pieces. The following generations always used the story "Hong Men feast " to refer to a hazardous situation of killing.

8.1.5 Emperor Liu Bang, Founder of Han Dynasty, Slaughtered A giant While Snake While Drunk

¡¶ Shi Ji. Gao Zu Ben Ji¡· recorded, " In late Qin Dynasty, as a community chief , Emperor Liu Bang, founder of Han Dynasty, was escorting laborers to Mountain Li Shan. On the way to the destination most of laborers were dead. When reaching Feng Xi Swamp, Liu \Bang set the rest labourers free. As a result, only about ten strong men were willing to follow Liu Bang to rebel, At night Liu Bang got drunk and ordered one man advanced in front of the line. The man sent to take a lead returned back to report that a giant snake was in the way stopping them from marching on. Being half asleep because of over -drinking, Liu Bang seemed fearless, saying: 'Follow me if you are a brave man, there's nothing to fear! Then he took a lead and marched on bravely, branching the sword and cutting the snake into two parts. The road smoothed away. they went on with their journey for several Li, Liu Bang felt tired, and fell asleep as soon as lying down. An old woman was weeping on the scene where the snake was killed. Someone asked for the reason, the old woman replied that someone killed her son. Someone asked again how she could conclude that her son was killed. The old woman answered that her son named Bai Dizi changed himself into the snake. Because he was in the way, he was killed by a man named Chi Dizi. Someone told the story to Liu Bang, Liu Bang felt proud of it, beaming happily after hearing it.

8.1.6 Wen Jun Sold Alcoholic Drinks

According to the record of¡¶ Shi Ji. Biography of Sima Xiang -ru ¡· , there existed a very wealthy, powerful and honorable family whose grandfather was once entitled Duke Zhuo in the place of Lin Qiong. A daughter of the family named Wen Jun newly-widowed, fell into love with Sima Xianru and both eloped to Chengdu, Sichuan Province. As they possessed nothing in the home but four bare sides of wall. and Wen Jun's family refused to sponsor them at the beginning, after their arriving at Lin Qiong, they were obliged to sell out the cart and horses and other possession, with the money, they purchased an inn to start their business. Wen Jun acted as a shop girl to sell the alcoholic and Sima Xianru acted as a business boy, doing some washing. The story was later considered as a symbol that the husband and wife would be loyal to each other and have a deep affection for each other under any difficult conditions . In history, Lin Qiong was a place famous for its brewing and well flavored alcoholic drinks. "Wen Jun Liquor " has become a famous liquor with a historic interest. A line of ¡¶ Peach Blossom¡·. a poem written by Lou Ying of Tang Dynasty praised.

"Several branches full of peach blossom,
Gentally in Spring breeze, brush gently against Wen Jun Liquor."

A famous poet of Song Dynasty named Lu You wrote a poem ¡¶Wen Jun Well¡· chanting:

Being sent into exile to Western China, I become fond of drinking.
After getting a bit drunk, I like playing Chinese piano.
And I feel completely at ease without any restraints, for My stepping out of cocoon of power, again,
I'm heading for Wen Jun Alcohol Distillery for sipping.

8.1.7 Comments Upon Who Were Heroes While Drinking

The story occurred in Chapter 21 of ¡¶ Legends of Three Kingdoms ¡·, a famous Chinese historic novel. During the late period of Eastern Han Dynasty, Cao Cao was very powerful, holding the emperor in his power and ordering the dukes about in the emperor's name. Liu Bei was very weak in force although he was ranked in Emperor's uncle -hood. In order to guard against Cao Cao's plotting to murder, Liu Bei pretended to take no care of political affairs of the state, starting cultivation of vegetables in his garden, which severed as playing a plot of concealing his true intentions. Guan Yun-chang and Zhang Fei ( two brotherly followers, later two of the most important generals of Liu Bei's) didn't know what Liu Bei really drove at, beginning to complain about his doings that he shut his eyes from the worldly events but paid too much attention to daily trifles like a common citizen. One day, Cao Cao sent for Liu Bei while he was watering vegetables. No way out , Liu Bei had to come to Cao Cao's palace together with the messenger to pay a respect visit with great care and stricken terror, Cao Cao said to Liu Bei with no expression on his face, " What great things you are doing at home! " The speaker said it on purpose and the listener knew what the speaker hinted. The words terrified Liu Bei to turn pale . After it Cao Cao went on saying:" It is not an easy thing that you learn to plant vegetables." which made Liu Bei feel a bit at ease. Cao Cao continued, "Just now I saw green plums on the tree branches in the garden, which reminds me of one past thing, (i.e. Once Cao Cao led his armies to march through a no- water area under the hot sunlight, soldiers felt greatly thirsty and unwilling to march on. At this critical moment Cao Cao hit upon an idea that he made a lie that there was a large forest of plum trees with full of ripe plums on just in front of us. Hearing it, all soldiers seemed to have already tasted the acid plums, which made them have already tasted the acid plums, and made them mouth-watered, then soften their thirty feeling. All stoop up to dash forward for plums. Finally Cao Cao and his armies got out of the dangerous area. ) Today seeing the plums, I feel we can't miss the chance to taste it. I happened to have the alcohol well brewed and heated by coincidence, therefore I sent for you to come over to have a drink. Liu followed Cao Cao to a pavilion . He saw various kinds of drinking vessels, a plate full of green plums. They both took their seats face to face, placed the fruit into the alcohol to heat on the fire, starting to go on a drinking spree. In the mid drinking spree, with heavy black clouds suddenly gathered in the sky, it was going to have a heavy rain, Cao Cao kept on commenting on the dragon's characters and virtues, comparing the dragon to the heroes, then asking Liu Bei who were the present-time heroes. Liu Bei pretended to have no ambition, naming several persons that were all denied by Cao Cao. At this moment, Cao Cao was anxious for knowing what Liu Bei had in the mind and whether he was going to seek power and rule over the world or not, he went on to say, "A hero must be this kind of man who has a great ambition and extraordinary wisdoms in mind and has the whole universe in heart and outstanding ability to dominate the whole country". " Who would be entitled the hero £¿" asked Liu Bei. "Only you and I deserve the name of hero at present time." Cao Cao answered directly. Greatly shocked at hearing these words, Liu Bei dropped the chopsticks in his hand down to the ground unconsciously. At the moment, rain happened to pour down with terrifying thunder noise. An idea flashed into Liu Bei's mind. He picked up the dropped chopsticks calmly and unhurriedly, explaining that he was too frightened by the sudden thunder noise to hold his chopsticks. By now Cao Cao felt at ease by seeing the scene, saying, " Do a man fear the thunder noise £¿" Liu Bei answered, " Even Confusion -a wise man lost his self-control when hearing the sudden thunder noise, not to mention me." By such concealing his true element and ambition, Liu Bei made Cao Cao believe he was an common and cowed person with no ambition. From then on Cao Cao was no longer suspicious of Liu Bei.

8.1.8 Seven Great Minds Nearby Groves of Bamboo

"Seven Great Minds Nearby Groves of Bamboo" refers to seven famous scholars of Jin Dynasty, they were Ruan Ji, Ji Kang, Shan Tao, Liu Ling, Ruan Xian, Xiang Xiu and Wang Xu. They had an unconventional and unrestrained life, often singing and fish- drinking to their hearts' content nearby groves of bamboo, therefore entitled to "Seven Great Minds Nearby Groves of Bamboo " by the people of that time. The most outstanding drunkard among them was Liu Ling, who illustrated himself, "I , named Liu Ling, who was given a life by God, make a name for fond of fish-drinking, one drink taking in one hu (hu , a kind of ancient Chinese drinking vessel, equals a large kettle) of alcoholic liquor, feeling awake and never getting drunk after having five hu of alcohol. "A book named ¡¶Jiu Pu¡· described in details how Liu Ling was fond of drinking, He had a drinking pot with himself whenever he took a cart to go out, drinking while he walked, a man with a spade on the shoulder following him so as to dig a pit to bury him whenever and wherever he fell dead. Ruan Xian never care about his grace or dignity while drinking. Every time he had a drink with his family tribe, he never used a cup or a ladle, just had a big basin full of alcohol, sitting by it and holding alcohol with two bare hands to the mouth. He didn't mind when swine came over to drink, not trying to drive them away, but drank together with the swine in the same basin. Liu Ling once wrote a poem¡¶ Ode to Drinking Morality ¡·, its general idea was just as the following: He drifed around in the world, no Trace to follow, no room to live in, just sleeping everywhere to his heart's content, the sky serving as the "quilt" and the ground as the "bed" . Drinking was his life and his business, a drinking pot with himself wherever he went, having drinks whether he walked or stopped to rest, knowing nothing but drinking. He never cared about what comments others made on himself, the more others remarked on his doings, the more he was indulged in drinking, falling asleep when he got drunk. Even if awoke, he still felt faintly aware of what was going on in the society, hearing nothing even if a great thunder cracked in a sudden in a complete silence, unnoticing anything even if he faced Mount Tai, feeling nothing although it turned cold, hot or cool, or unaware of vulgar and obscure matters such as interests, desires and affections of the society. Liu Ling's poem fully reflected the intellectuals' mind and attitudes towards the society of Jin Dynasty ¡ª¡ª¡ª the intellectuals then were obliged to over- drink in order to forget worries and troubles, to avoid woes and dangers and to express their discontentment to the political affairs of that time while their getting drunk. According to the historical records, Sima Zhao, Emperor Wen of Wei Power was going to plead the suit with Ruan Ji's daughter on behalf of his son. Ruan Ji made an indirect refuse by having got drunk for two mouths, which gave no chance to Emperor Wen to plead the suit, in the end Emperor Wen had to give up his intention. It was a fairly typical of anecdotes then, which cast great influence on the following generations.

8.1.9 Confucius and Mencius Metaphor Good Alcohol and Inferior One Respectively

At the beginning of the founding of Wei Power during Three -Kingdom period. Cao Cao issued a severe order to prohibit alcohol, so people had to have drinks privately and secretly, but dared not mention the alcohol. In this case, people changed to use Confucius to hint good alcohol and Mencius to stand for inferior alcohol, which later became a special term of history. There was another special expression - "Hold a position in Qing Zhou and have a post of supervision of mails in Ping Yuan. " were also metaphors of good alcohol and inferior one, ¡¶Shi Shui Xing Yu ¡· written by Liu Yi -qing of Nan Dynasty recorded, " Heng Wen had an assistant who was good at telling good alcohol from inferior one. He was accustomed to naming good alcohol as "hold a position in Qing Zhou". Qing Zhou was a place in which there was a community named Qi community whose pronunciation was homophonic with navel. That is to say, good alcoholic drinks never made drinkers feel headache but a bit dizzy; an inferior drink was called "have a post of supervision of mails in Ping Yuan". 'That's because there was a place named "Ge County " within Ping Yuan, "Ge " in Chinese was pronounced the same as diaphragm, that meant the inferior alcohol, after drinking down, could only reach the part of diaphragm and could go down further, which means the inferior alcohol makes drinkers feel headache.

8.1.10 Eight Gods Fond of Drinking

Du Fu, a famous poet of Tang Dynasty wrote a rather popular poem entitled to ¡¶ Songs of Eight Gods Fond of Drinking ¡· , Which presented a vivid illustration of eight great minds of Tang Dynasty. It pictured as following,

After drunk, Zhi Zhang sways on horse like boating; With blurred vision, he falls down into the well, in water sleeping; Ru Yang, even having three dou of alcohol, dare call on Emperor, The moment he sees a cart loaded with alcohol his mouth watering, How he wishes he could remove his feud to Jiu Quan. Premier fish-drinks as if taking in hundreds of rivers dry, Which cost him a great deal beyond calculation per day, He says, fond of drinking was to avoid the crafty and treacherous. Zhong Zi, a handsome young gentleman, when drunk, look like a jade tree in the breeze swaying,

His head up, staring into heaven no care of nothing else while he is drinking.

Su Jin calls himself a pious Buddhist.

But he is likely to miss praying while fond of drinking.

Li Bai, having a dou of alcohol, is inspired to create hundreds of wonderful poems,

Drunk and asleep when Emperor sends for him, but reluctant to leave, Calling himself a god of alcohol.

Zhang Xu is entitled to god of flowing-and-freely-stroking handwriting,

No care about his manner, behaving to his heart's content before dukes and princes,

His handwriting turns at will, when he has three pots of drinking, With swift-and-free strokes as clouds in the air drifting. As if he is helped by God.

Jiao Sui got faintly drunk after taking in five dou of drinking, At the moment his remarks even sharpen and smarten, Which shocks all the drinker companions surrounding.

8.1.11 A Cup of Alcohol Dismissed Generals' Power of Forces

This story tells us that, founder of Song Dynasty, Emperor Zhao Kuang-yi, had always been worrying his followers to imitate what he had done since he started coup d'SYMBOL 233 \f "Arial"tat at Cheng Qiao and seized the power immediately, having an idea to dismiss some generals' power of controlling their forces. In 961 A.D, he arranged a banquet, inviting Shi Shou-xin, Wang Sheng- qi, both of whom were generals of empirical guards and other generals to attend it, during the drinking, he advised them to pile up more property, houses and land then leave them to their younger generations, and enjoy their rest life by watching dancing and singing and indulging in beauties. After hearing the Emperor's words, all the generals resigned their power of controlling forces. In 969 A.D, he invited Wang Yan- chao, commander of military district to have a feast, during which, he forced Wang Yan-chao to hand in his power. What Emperor Zhao Kuangyi did was copied and used repeatedly by following rulers, the purpose of his doings was to guard against coup. But it resulted in the fact that soldiers didn't know the commander and the commander didn't know soldiers, the persons with power to order armies knew nothing about commanding armies and battling, and those who were able to command armies and master battling had no power to order armies, which greatly weakened the fighting force of Song Dynasty's armies although it was effective in prohibition of coup d'SYMBOL 233 \f "Arial"tat. As a result, Song Dynasty's armies were defeated again and again in a series of wars against those of Liao, Jin and West Xia Powers.

In literatural works, there exist a greater number of rather popular descriptions related to alcoholic beverages in addition to the stories mentioned above. For instance, Jin Ke's anecdote of drinking in Kingdom Yan; in a novel of ¡¶ Legend of Three Kingdom¡· , Zhang Fei , a general of Kingdom Shu conquered Yan Yan ( a general of Xi Chuan Power) by pretending over-drinking; Guang Yu ( a general of Kingdom Shu ) Killed Hua Xiong ( a general of Duke Yuan Shao ) after having adequate alcohol. In ¡¶ Rebels at Water-margin ¡·. Wu Song fisted a fierce tiger at Jing Yang Hill after drunk; Monk Lu Zhi-sheng made a big violation at Temple Wu Tai Mountain after drinking too much. In ¡¶ Legends of Pilgrimage to the West ¡·. Monk Shu Wu Kong a god, stole the "Live-Forever Drink". In¡¶Red-chamber's Dream¡· existed a "Wan Yan Tong Bei" Drink (pronounced in Chinese Pingyin), Whose original meaning was that ten thousand flowers were put in the same cup to brew an alcohol, but it's pronunciation in Chinese has a homophone of "all beauties end tragically in life" in Chinese characters. So, here it hints that all beautiful girls would be teased by fate and end miserably in life.

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