Yeguangbei 'the night-glittering cup' is a special jade product of Jinquan in the province of Gansu.
Since ancient times, the Qilian Mountains of Gansu have produced a beautiful jade of brilliant white, green, black and yellow colours. Local artisans grind and polish it into wine cups either of a pure colour or of mixed colours. They are of various forms which include wine cups with stems, flat-bottomed cups, and cups with cut designs, all marked by a simple and elegant taste. They are all the more cherished because they stand in sudden contact with extreme heat or cold.
Legend says that King Mu (10th century B.C.) of the Zhou Dynasty once drank with this cup and found it glittering snow-white in the moonlight. It was then named the "night-glittering cup". It became more famous after the Tang Dynasty poet Wang Han sang of it in the following lines:
Grape wine in luminous cups shine.
As we raise them to lips the pipa strikes up fast.
Laugh not if we fall drunk on the battlefield.
Tell us how many ever returned from the war.
Jinquan has today a well-established factory specializing in the making of such "luminous cups". Nowadays, visitors to the town, apart from seeing Jiayuguan Pass, the western end of the Great Wall, all wish to make a tour of this factory, buying a few cups as souvenirs.