A short article on the important role cups and vases played in human culture, technology, economy and understanding.
A cup is an universal object. Something ancient with qualities to be found in almost every living thing. As a form it resembles the cell. The body. It’s opening is facing up to the sky . Always. Often when filled with fluids it mirrors images of the sky.
The size of a cup is related to the hand. When held together two hands can hold almost the same amount of fluid.
Bottles have a mouth . Drinking is like kissing. As kissing is a form of ritualised feeding through the mothers mouth. Their is a sexual aspect to touching something with your lips. In history cups and grails took on functions in rituals.
They combine three important aspects of life : they hold food or water, they face up to the sun , the light , they create order through membranes and resist entropy.
Cups and time
When cups came into existence time began for humans . A cup proposes a standard , a measure. The world becomes measurable. A cup connects visually time with space. It hands time to people away from the sky where it had been for millennia. Only the Sun and the Moon made time visible before. Now pouring out a cup is a measure for time, that works independently of the sky.
The cup as aggressive metaphor
In recent times the dominant economic structure has been the consumer society economy. Here the cup has become the metaphor that is applied on to everything. This happens on the background of trying to make everything measurable, consumable and therefore tradable. The qualities of the cup/vase have become an aggressive doctrine.
Human culture, technology and civilisation would be impossible without the existence of cups or vases, but we have to be careful not to fall under the dictatorship of the cup.