Cup of Confucius
Name used in Asia for a Pythagorean Cup, i.e. a cup that looks like a
normal drinking cup, except that the bowl has a hollow central column in
it, in the Asian version often a Chinese bearded figure that represents
works on the principle of communicating vessels.
Chinese figure or central column is
positioned directly over the stem of the cup which has a tiny hole at
the bottom that is connected
to a small open pipe that runs from this
hole almost to the top of the central column. At the foot of the central
column in the bottom of the bowl, is another tiny hole through which the
liquid will rise inside the hollow central column to the same level as
in the cup. When the cup is
filled partially, nothing happens and the cup functions normally, as
long as the liquid does not rise above the top of the open pipe in the
chamber. However, if the level rises to the over the top of the
open pipe inside
the chamber of the central
column, the liquid spills through the first chamber and out of the
bottom of the cup through the second pipe
that is connected to the bottom of the central column.
Hydrostatic pressure then creates suction which
pulls the stream of liquid
into the syphon,
thus emptying the entire cup through the base.
Legend has it that when Confucius almost died of
hunger and thirst in the desert, he was given a cup to scoop water from
a well, but when he scooped up a full cup of water it turned out to be
empty. The cup only held the water if it was partially full. This
corresponds to an ancient Chinese practice.
is a symbol for friendship and camaraderie (fig.),
and Chinese people always use tea to welcome guests in their home,
filling a cup of tea for only seven-tenths of its capacity, believing
that the other thirty percent will be filled with friendship and
affection, which is in line with
behave toward everyone as if
receiving a great guest, and his
humans need to control their behaviour by keeping balance and not live
in extremes. Also referred to as Confucius Cup, and in the West, it is also known by
the names Pythagoras Cup, Greedy Cup, Cup of Justice, and Tantalus Cup.