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In a poem, the Tang dynasty poet Dù Fǔ immortalized eight prodigious drinkers of his time. Since only six are depicted here, this might be one of a pair of paintings. Dù Fǔ said Hè Zhīzhāng, seen riding his horse, swayed as if on a boat, and he would continue sleeping even if he fell into a well. Prince Jing, bottom right, salivated over a cartload of malt for making alcohol, even after finishing three large pots of wine. The drunkenness of these men symbolizes their repudiation of officialdom, with all of its political intrigues.
Wine was important to the development of Chinese poetry, both as a theme and also as a facilitator of self expression.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Shula; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1980.