|Home > China Feature|
What's An Ancient Banquet Like?
The Banquet of Thousand Aged People may be one of the most famous banquets in history. According to historical documents of the Qing Dynasty, the Banquet of Thousand Aged People was held for four times during the reign of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong. In the fiftieth year during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1785), the country was peaceful and affluent. At a celebration of the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong held a Banquet of Thousand Aged People in the Palace of Heavenly Purity to show his infinite royal graciousness. The splendor of the banquet was unprecedented. About 3000 aged people were invited to the banquet, including members of the royal family, ministers of the former Dynasty, and old men from common people who were summoned to the capital. At the banquet, people gorged themselves with food and drinks. It’s said that a lot of old men fainted, or passed out because of too much laughter, food or drink.
The Banquet Given by Han Xizai is a famous work in China’s painting history and one of the top ten reputed existent paintings. It depicts the scene that Han Xizai, a high official of the Southern Tang Dynasty, was holding a banquet in the form of a serial scroll. In order to avoid being suspected by Emperor Li Yu of the Southern Tang Dynasty, Han Xizai always held banquets at his home and wallowed in pleasure with his guests. This picture depicts the whole process of a banquet at Han Xizai’s mansion. Drawn with accurate and fluent lines, the scroll is delicate, agile and highly expressive. And the color setting is exquisite, rich in the sense of hierarchy, and incredibly amazing.
In 1978, the brick painting Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi was excavated from a mausoleum of the Southern dynasties in Taigang Temple, Xishan Bridge, Nanjing. The painting depicts a banquet of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove. During the Wei and Jin period, the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove often gathered together to discuss poetry and theories. In the painting, Ruan Ji, a well-known free-mannered talent, was sitting on the ground and whistling with his right hand in an easy and free manner. Of course, such an indulgence in banquets was actually for escaping from the fatuous politics, and banquets became where personalities could dispel their anguish.