The Winemaking Deity


The New Year picture Zao jiu xian weng (The Winemaking Deity) in the collection of the National Library of China belongs to the category of images relating to worship of the Horse God. This picture, however, is for the sacrificial ceremony of worshipping the Wine God. The piece was created in Beijing and reflects the continuation of the folk tradition in Northern China of worshipping the Wine God. In this image, the Wine God is sitting upright in the middle of the picture, holding a ritual wine vessel called a jue. On both sides of him stand the fairy boys, each holding a different-shaped wine pot, with the name of the wine on the body of the pot. In the foreground is an altar table, on which stand an incense burner, a candle holder, and sacrificial objects at the sides. Behind the deity is a horizontal scroll, with a four-character inscription: Zao jiu xian weng (The Winemaking Deity). The space on the two sides of the scroll is decorated with banners. A number of famous wine varieties are engraved on the picture, such as Sanbai (three whites wine), Huiquan (Huiquan wine), Jujiu (chrysanthemum wine), Yaojiu (medicinal wine), and more. The figure is the deified patron of winemakers. There were a number of legendary patrons of winemakers in various areas of China, the most popular of which were Yidi and Du Kang.

Last updated: July 27, 2016