Nuosu Lacquerware Culture

Almost every Nuosu household, from those in remote villages to modern apartments, has at least one piece of lacquerware to use on special occasions. Perhaps the most famous item is the Nuosu wine jug, known for the way it is filled—there’s no lid! Jug shape varies, but the interior design is the same. The liquid (wine or other alcohol) is poured in through a small hole in the bottom of the jug. This is connected to a pipe that extends halfway up the interior of the jug. When you turn the jug upright again, the pipe prevents the liquid from running out the bottom hole, and the beverage can then be poured through the spout like any other jug.

Yi Lacquerware

Dr. Stevan Harrell’s website offers additional information on Nuosu lacquerware. Further information on Nuosu culture, including lacquerware, is also featured in Mountain Patterns: The Survival of Nuosu Culture in China, which Dr. Harrell coauthored with Bamo Qubumo and Ma Erzi (both Nuosu).

Medium Wine Set
Dove Wine Jug
From the noble eagle soaring high above the mountain valleys to the lowly chicken scratching in the courtyard, birds are celebrated in Nuosu culture. This wine jug is probably modeled after the doves that live in the Liangshan mountains. In use, wine is poured in through a small hole in the bird’s belly, then out again through its beak.
Classic Wine Set
Wine Set
A classic wine set, exemplary of those found in Nuosu homes. The wine jug holds just enough alcohol to fill the four goblets, so all gathered can toast to hospitality and good health. As in all classic Nuosu wine jugs, the liquid is poured in through a hole in the bottom, and out through the spout on the side.
Medium Wine Set
Goblet Pair
Suitable for a toast, these goblets are about 5 inches high and have black interiors.
Ladle
Pair of Ladles
The Nuosu use this type of ladle to spoon soup out of large communal bowls at the table.
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