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Scribes of GastronomyRepresentations of Food and Drink in Imperial Chinese Literature$
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Isaac Yue and Siufu Tang

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139972

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139972.001.0001

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From Conservatism to Romanticism

From Conservatism to Romanticism

Wine and Prose-Writing from Pre-Qin to Jin

(p.15) 2 From Conservatism to Romanticism
Scribes of Gastronomy

Tak Kam Chan

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter explores the uniqueness of wine within the trope of food literature by charting the changing prosaic conceptualization of this substance from the pre-Qin era to Wei-Jin period. By observing the way wine in Pre-Qin prose is mostly alluded to in a restrictive manner and in association with the aristocracy's sacrificial rites and social feasts, it notes the existence of a clear moral censure of over-drinking, which changed in Han times when wine drinking became a common activity among the literati class. Although moral censure retained its influence throughout this transition, wine increasingly took up the role of an intensifier of sensations or a reliever of sorrow and worries in poetry. The positive perception of wine culminated in its synonymity with spiritual independence in the Wei-Jin era.

Keywords:   Wei-Jin period, Han Dynasty, Wine prose, Moral censure, Culture, Food, Literature, China

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