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Chinese poem illustration: 小雅 宾之初筵/ Xiaoya – Guests Entering Dinning Hall by Anonymous

小雅 宾之初筵 part1

Archery and driving are the most important among Six Skills(六艺: 礼、乐、射、御、书、数) which are the essential skills in battlefield. To safeguard homeland and wealth is still one of the few highest priority tasks in a modern society, not to say for Zhou people. Zhou people ingeniously integrated this social value in their daily life and entertaiment by enforcenment shooting game into code of conduct(周礼). The shooting game illustrated in this poem is a good example to undersand this tradition.

This poem was not well explained through the history only because the inablility to understand the significane of archery, excessive focus on the ritual and code of conduct, thus this poem was concluded as a blaming poem to alcoholism. I would rather take this poem as an official document by central goverment: report of a state banquet.

Part1 and Part2 video are also available at Bilibili: 小雅 宾之初筵 Part1 宾之初筵 Part2

小雅 宾之初筵 part2

The second part is about third to fifth paragraph. The first two paragraph actually completely recorded a lovely and happy event, from the first round toasts, shooting games, sacrifice to Zhou’s ancestors, awarding to winners and finally go back to their dining sheets(酒席) celebrating with endless drinks.

While in the third and fourth paragraph, the poet examined drinking event with full details, apparently those drunk high-class does not differ much from today’s average Chinese people, the attendees behaved exactly the same. The poet drew his conclusion in the final paragraph: per Zhou’s rules, drinking is always greatly encouraged as far as you behaving as a gentlemen, I(poet himself) am always available to help on building this rule of drinking.

小雅 宾之初筵
佚名

宾之初筵,左右秩秩。笾豆有楚,殽核维旅。
酒既和旨,饮酒孔偕。钟鼓既设,举酬逸逸。
大侯既抗,弓矢斯张。射夫既同,献尔发功。
发彼有的,以祈尔爵。

籥舞笙鼓,乐既和奏。烝衎烈祖,以洽百礼。
百礼既至,有壬有林。锡尔纯嘏,子孙其湛。
其湛曰乐,各奏尔能。宾载手仇,室人入又。
酌彼康爵,以奏尔时。

宾之初筵,温温其恭。其未醉止,威仪反反。
曰既醉止,威仪幡幡。舍其坐迁,屡舞仙仙。
其未醉止,威仪抑抑。曰既醉止,威仪怭怭。
是曰既醉,不知其秩。

宾既醉止,载号载呶。乱我笾豆,屡舞僛僛。
是曰既醉,不知其邮。侧弁之俄,屡舞傞傞。
既醉而出,并受其福。醉而不出,是谓伐德。
饮酒孔嘉,维其令仪。

凡此饮酒,或醉或否。既立之监,或佐之史。
彼醉不臧,不醉反耻。式勿从谓,无俾大怠。
匪言勿言,匪由勿语。由醉之言,俾出童羖。
三爵不识,矧敢多又。

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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