Head of Department
How wine, now considered one of the earliest forms of material civilisation, came about seems to be a bit of a coincidence: food was soaked with water by accident and with time, alcohol was naturally produced. Consuming the alcoholic food sent our earliest predecessors to a state of tipsiness like nothing they had ever experienced – they believed it was an otherworldly track to come closer to the divinity. This may explain why priests are among the earliest group of people who drank wine copiously, before this activity gained popularity among the nobility, the scholar-officials and then the public. With time, objects related to the drinking culture have also evolved in craftsmanship and function, from the dignified designs for ceremonies to the elaborate style adorned with precious material accessible only to the noblemen, and further on to a boom in artistic expression sought after by the literati. Through Chinese history, wine has gone beyond the material to become an indispensable vehicle connecting the social, the art, the culture and more.
On 30 November, Bonhams Hong Kong will present GANBEI: A Toast to Chinese Wine Culture, a themed auction showcasing more than 40 pieces of Chinese works of art connected to drinking and wine culture over the past 3,000 years. They span dynasties from Shang, Spring and Autumn, Warring States, Western Han, Tang, to Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing. All items will be exhibited to the public from 21 to 29 November, an opportunity for everyone to trace the development of the wine culture as a form of art throughout Chinese history.
47 lots available