What a minuscule lapdog is on display here! It looks like a Pekingese, made fashionable because the Chinese emperor kept them for centuries. Next to it on the table gleams a pewter valve jug with a long spout. It can still be found in many a pewter collection, because in the 17th century pewter was the silver of the poor. In rich households, wine was poured from it. It was a luxury product that people liked to enjoy together even then, companions as we humans are. On the ground to the left is another pewter wine jug, more richly engraved. What a difference from the glass aeration carafes we now pour our wine from.

There, by the wine branch, you also see two bottles. Packing wine in glass bottles is a development from the Golden Age, when the quality of wine kept improving and we gratefully brought the drink to the Netherlands from Bordeaux. The dark colour of the glass protects the wine from sunlight. You were not supposed to pour directly from the bottle; the wine first went into the tin jug to separate it from the sediment and aerate it.

At this party, the wine flows profusely, it is clear. The man in the middle turns his empty glass upside down. Does he mean to say: 'Pour me some more?' Glass held upside down can also symbolise temperance. There is certainly a pedantic message if you look at the painting hanging behind the company: the Flood. It means: 'You have been warned, there is more than mere song!'

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