"Where there is wine, there is feast."
The Yi people enjoy drinking wine since ancient times. Wine plays an important role in their diet and social life. The Yi saying says, "Han people value tea, and Yi people value wine." It is as common of the Yis to entertain guests with wine as the Hans to entertain guests with tea. Yi saying also says, "Wine is dish" and "Where there is wine, there is feast, and butchered pig and sheep can't make a feast if there is no wine", which can show their love for wine. Yi people drink wine in normal life, in welcoming and entertaining guests, in New Year and festivals, in marriage, funeral or happy occasions, in consulting great events, and in mediating quarrels. Wine exists anywhere.
There are many ways to drink for Yis, and comparatively special ways are "drinking in turn" and "drinking with bamboo staff".
Yi people don't like to pour and drink wine by oneself, and they like to gather and drink together at all times and all places. They often gather in threes and fours, sit down on ground to form a circle, and drink from the left side to the right side with a cup, bottle or bowl. Every one wipes horizontally the brim of the cup or bowl with left hand as courtesy after drinking, and then hand it over to the person nearby. Sometimes they drink in turn with the wine bottle directly. This way of drinking wine is "drinking in turn".
Wine of Yis is generally made from sorghum, corn and buckwheat mixed with distiller's yeast in jars. When the wine is mature, they remove the sealing mud on the jar, add cold boiled water in it, put bamboo staff in it, and drink while sucking. So this is called "drinking with bamboo staff".
Yi people are good at making wine, like to drink wine, and also pay much attention to the beauty of drinking vessels. The lacquer wine vessel is beautiful and useful, and has enjoyed good fame both at home and abroad.
Lacquer coating of the Yis has had over 1600 years of history for 57 generations. Lacquer wine vessels are wine pot, wine cup, wine plate, wine spoon, etc. The roughcast is made from wood, feather or horn, and the inside and outside are painted with colorful lacquer. Usually the black lacquer is painted as background, and red or yellow patterns and designs are painted on it. One of its characters is the tone is terse, bright and clear, and the decorative patterns are natural and realistic. Such figures as the sun and moon, mountains and rivers, flowers and birds, worms and snakes, domestic and wild animals, and plants all stem from nature and life, but they don't simply reappear nature and life. They are extracted and summarized on the basis of imitating the images, which become regulated, artistic and abstract. The second character is that the mould is elegant and the structure is marvelous. Pot and cup have many shapes. There are round pot, flat-bottomed pot, pot with long leg, and all kinds of bird-shaped and fish-shaped pot. There are round leg cups, long leg cups and some cups are made of bird's claw or beast's hoof, such as cup of eagle's talons or wild goose's talons. What is particular is that none of them has obvious mouth for pouring in and out wine. People insert a bamboo straw into the upper part of the pot, which reaches the bottom for sucking wine. The mouth for pouring into wine is at the bottom. There is a little hole at the middle of the bottom and a bamboo straw is put in it, which reaches the shoulder of the pot. When they pour wine into it, they put it upside down, pour wine into the hole and then put it upright. Wine will not leak out and also is not easy to evaporate. The design is so ingenious that people often don't know how wine is poured into the pot even after they have drunk the wine off in the pot. Many bamboo straws are inserted around the body of some pots, but only one straw is for drinking, and others are decorations. You have to recognize the sign when drink wine and select precisely. Or you can't get wine even if your mouth and teeth become painful.
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