Liu Yiqian, one of the wealthiest businessmen in China, sparked tremendous outrage after an image of him drinking from a rare Ming Dynasty cup, often referred to as the "holy grail" of China's art world, sufaced. Liu Yiqian, a Shanghai collector, recently bought the 500-year-old cup for $36 million at an auction in Hong Kong. The acquisition highlights the excesses of the wealthy class in the country.
As reported by WebProNews yesterday, the Chinese businessman angered many of his fellow citizens this week after a photo showing the real estate mogul drinking from the cup went viral. The backlash was swift and fierce because many Chinese consider the action an insult to the country's artistic heritage.
One upset user wrote on the social network Weibo, similar to Twitter,...“You think you can drink it and become immortal? Or that it will extend your life? In fact, isn’t it just a way to satisfy your vanity?”
“Sigh, Chinese people are just like this,” expressed another: “No people who are civilized would treat a cultural treasure like this. No wonder Chinese people are looked down on by other countries’ citizens.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Liu took the controversial drink when he traveled to Hong Kong to finalize his purchase. “It happened when I was paying,” Liu told China Real Time . “A Sotheby’s staffer poured me some tea. I saw the [chicken cup] and excitedly poured some of that tea into the cup and drank a little. Such a simple thing—what’s so crazy about that?”