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ALLÉGORIE DE L'IVRESSE SUR TERRE ET DANS L'AU-DELÀ, Miniature persane, c. 1531/33  - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Persian miniature, ca. 1531/33

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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'As long as I am not drunk, my joy is incomplete.

When wine takes me, ignorance supplants my wit.

There exists a state between drunkenness and healthy reason.

Oh! With what happiness do I make myself slave to this state, for all life is there!'


Omar Khayyam, Les Rubaiyat (quatrain 37) 

The tavern party, complete with ecstatic dancers, singers and overindulgent drinkers, is given a new meaning by the presence of angels on top of the pavilion, suggesting that the state of drunkenness can be likened to that of spiritual enlightenment. As a Sufi symbol, wine stands for heaven's divine light and the cup into which it is poured, for the devotee's heart. 

(Source : The Metropolitan Museum of Art).

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