Chinese Wine Sets
Chinese wine sets have a long history and come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. In terms of material, there are pottery, bronze, porcelain, jade, glass wine sets and those made with other materials.
Pottery wine sets are China’s earliest wine utensils found so far. These sets were extremely popular in the Painted Pottery Culture Period of the Neolithic Age. They were widely used in later ages, especially among the laboring people at the foot of the social ladder. The casting of bronze wine sets started in the Xia Dynasty and became prevailing in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties as well as in the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States Periods. Among these wine sets, the ones modeled after the shapes of animals in nature reflected people’s wish for beautiful things and luck as well as the praying to divinities and auspicious animals for protection. Such sets include tiger, goat, ox and elephant-shaped utensils, etc.
Porcelain wine sets have the highest artistic value, such as the Ming and Qing Dynasty blue-and-white porcelain wine sets painted with landscape, flowers, birds, human figures and stories, giving a sense of beauty and cultural taste to the drinkers in the drinking process. Jade wine sets are an indication of ancient people’s social positions. The nine-dragon jade cup of the Qing Dynasty is ingeniously designed, with nine coiling dragons carved on the cup. The tails of the nine dragons are intertwined with one another. There are small holes at the bottom of the cup leading to the nine tails, so when the cup is filled with wine, the nine tails are also filled up. If an excessive amount of wine is poured in, the wine will naturally stream down, avoiding overdrinking.
Chinese wine sets are elegant and in good taste, with exquisite adornment. Holding the cup, the drinkers are usually overwhelmed with aesthetic feelings, experiencing the cultural and artistic charm of the utensil.
In ancient China, wine sets were also part of the ceremonial system. There was a stringent hierarchy system, under which people of different statuses and positions were supposed to use different wine sets. All types of Chinese wine sets serve as a mirror of ancient Chinese culture.