10 Stunning Pieces of Drinking Art From the Met’s Collection

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art recently put around 375,000 photos onto their website for public domain use. The images are free for anyone to use however they wish, if they can sort through them all to find what they want. Here at VinePair, we did the searching for you to find the best beer- and wine-related images on the Met website. Enjoy!

Men Treading Grapes from Iraq, maybe Baghdad, in 1224

Men treading grapes

Included along with this scene of wine production are the “medicinal properties of sour wine.” This was the original natural wine, and it didn’t carry the same price tag as natural wine does today.

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Parody of Palace Servants Heating Sake Over a Fire of Maple Leaves from around 1750 Japan

Maple Leaf Sake

This image depicts the emperor’s servants who just wanted a hot drink to warm themselves up. That meant using what was available: maple leaves. It wouldn’t be the most desperate thing anyone’s done for a drink.

The Triumph of Bacchus from the early 1780s

Triumph of Bacchus

Bacchus is the god of wine and drinkers, so it’s only fitting that this painting of little baby Bacchus shows him with a cup in hand. Also of note: His chariot is pulled by a panther. Savage.

Tax Receipt for Wine 174 BC from Egypt

Tax receipt for wine

This may look unfamiliar, but it’s something we all know very well. It’s a receipt for wine, specifically a tax receipt, with the date Sept. 26, 174 BC on it. The Egyptian ruler Ptolemy II Philadelphos put taxes on wine to encourage local viticulture, which, in the end, made wine more expensive for everyone.

Wine Jug from 1680 France

French Wine Jug

Oh, how the times have changed. People were actually served from this wine jug from 17th century France depicting a little baby shooting arrows at sea horses (literal horses in the sea, not seahorses). Wine just doesn’t come in jugs like this anymore.

Wine Pot from 17th-century China

Chinese Wine Pot

Not much is known about this wine pot other than that it comes from China and it’s made of porcelain. You don’t need long descriptions to appreciate this type of pure art. Sure, things probably got a little complicated when it came to serving (is that lion thing going to let go or nah?), but it probably makes a $10 wine feel like a $50 wine.

Figure of Girl with Wine Kettle from 1800 Japan

Girl with wine kettle

People who serve wine have always been held in high esteem. This woman immortalized in clay figurine form from the Edo period of Japan is an example of that.

Liqueur Bottle Cooler from 1772 France

Liqueur bottle cooler

No one likes a bottle at the wrong temperature. Sure, you can just throw it in the freezer and call it a day, but what’s the fun in that? The French in the 1770s clearly knew how to keep it cool in style.

Figure of a Male Beer Maker from around 2100 B.C. Egypt

Egypt beer maker

The Egyptians loved their beer. Manual labor workers were even paid with the precious liquid. Production was a little different back in the day, though, as you can see by this person doing some of the backbreaking work it takes to make beer. Show some respect, though, because this worker was literally brewing currency.

Beaker, Figure with Shell from 10th-century Peru

Gold beaker

Native Americans in South America may not have paved their streets in gold, but they sure did drink from solid gold. This particular gold drinking vessel was made for ceremonial feasts. After it was used, it’d be dropped into some important person’s tomb, because God forbid someone drank out of some old ceramic beaker in the afterlife.