Tag Archives: 成語

Edible Idiom: 酒池肉林

Saw this edible idiom on my timeline recently,  酒池肉林 jiǔ​chí​ròu​lín, literally meaning Wine Pools Meat Forest, but figuratively describing acts of debauchery or profane excess of consumption, especially luxurious objects or pleasures.
According to the short Wikipedia blurb and italki,  the expression originates from the Shang dynasty era, where the last ruler, a corrupted man leading a luxurious life, went on a lust and gluttony extravaganza by having ponds filled with wine, surrounded by all kinds of meat hanging on trees, and naked men and women to entertain.

I searched Google Images, hoping to find a cool old painting illustrating such scene, and actually landed on some NSFW images, even with Safe Search turned on, explicitly depicting scenes of debauchery. Digging further, I found a recent illustration by Hongnian Zhang, titled Fall of the Shang, though reminding me more of scenes from some ancient Roman orgies. Continue reading Edible Idiom: 酒池肉林

吃醋 (chīcù) – Eating Vinegar

蘋果冰醋, Apple Vinegar – flirck/Chopper Kuo

[en] In the Tang era, the emperor Taizong (太宗), also known as Li Shimin (李世民) wanted to reward one his chancellor, Fang Xuanling (房玄齡) with some concubines. Fan Xuanling, historically famous for being a henpecked man did not dare accept such a gift. Having thought ahead of this issue, Li Shimin sent an eunuch with a kettle of poisoned liquor to Fan Xuanling’s wife with an ultimatum: accept the concubines or drink the fatal beverage.

Against all expectations, the wife, scared and with teary eyes went ahead and drank the poison. However, she did not de, it turns out that the emperor wanted to test her with this little prank. The emperor went on to explain the whote story to his chancellor, expressed some admiration for this tough woman, and even told Fang Xuanling to consider her advices in the future.

This is how the expression 吃醋 literrally translated as “eat vinegar” has come to express romantic jealousy.

[fr] Pendant la période de la dynastie Tang, l’empereur Taizong (太宗), de son vrai nom Li Shimin (李世民) avait voulu récompenser son chancellier Fang Xuanling (房玄齡) en lui offrant des concubines, malgré le fait que celui-ci était avait une femme plutôt manipulatrice. Fang Xuanling n’osa donc pas accepter un tel cadeau. Ayant anticipé ce point là, Li Shiming envoya un eunuch à la rencontre de la femme de Fang Xuanling, il apporta une théière contenant une liqueur empoisonné et l’ultimatum de l’empereur: accepter le cadeau charnel de son mari ou consommer la boisson fatale.

Contre toute attente, la femme, malgré sa peur et avec des yeux sanglotants, buva le poison en une gorgée. Cependant, elle ne mourra pas, et pour cause, l’empereur avait voulu la testé en lui jouant ce petit tour. Par la suite, Li Shiming expliqua toute l’histoire à son chancellier, lui exprimant de l’admiration pour sa femme qui n’a pas eue froid aux yeux, et en lui conseillant de l’écouter dans le futur.

C’est donc ainsi que l’expression 吃醋, “manger du vinaigre”, est devenue un synonyme de jalousie sentimentale.