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The Vinegar Tasters
early 17th century
Ink, mineral pigment, and gold leaf on paper; two fold screen
The Three Vinegar Tasters illustrates the unity of the three great East Asian religions and philosophies. In the Japanese painting, three sages representing Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism gather around a barrel containing wine that has soured to vinegar. All three react to the sour taste with puckered cheeks showing that despite their different paths, they respond in the same way to the same essential reality.