Liu Yiqian, a Chinese multimillionaire, recently bought a 35 million USD wine cup from the Ming Dynasty, but got in trouble online by showing a picture of himself sipping tea out of it. This is what the rich art collector said: “Emperor Qianlong of the Ming Dynasty has used it, now I’ve used it” and “I just wanted to see how it felt.” The cup, he added, “isn’t a commercial product appropriate for the masses.”
On Weibo, a Chinese social media site, Chinese art lovers and people in the lower classes of society are furious:
“You think you can drink it and become immortal?”
“In fact, isn’t it just a way to satisfy your vanity?”
The reason of all this rage is because this ‘chicken cup’ (also known as ‘Mei Yin Tang’) probably the most celebrated porcelain in Chinese history and there are only 17 left in the world. See the tea cup in the below image. It’s delicately crafted with flawless translucent sides flaring out from the countersunk base to a subtly everted rim. The outside is painted in faint outlines of cobalt blue under the glaze and picked out in overglaze enamels of yellow, green, light and dark olive green. In addition, two tones of iron red is used with a lively continuous scene of a red rooster and his golden hen out in a garden with their chicks. One side of the cup depicting the rooster with his head turned back to see the hen pecking at a red-winged insect on the ground.