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Scent of a woman and her time

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-21 11:30
A porcelain Sodgian merchant and his horse.[Photo by Yu Jing/China News Service/China Daily]

"Although there is no visible flame, the powder is in a burning condition, turning the little sachets into mini-warmers that people carry in their sleeves, especially during winter," Ge says. "There were also bigger ones, ones for the cold winter night.

"In terms of spices and scents, what really set Tang apart from the eras that preceded it and followed it was a fever for something foreign that had effectively burnt through various layers of society. The sparks of enthusiasm also fell into many other areas, which, put together, signaled an openness more associated with Tang than any other period in Chinese history."

One example is Buddhism, another famous import along the Silk Road. In retrospect, it may not be entirely surprising that the spice culture and Buddhism fed each other during this time.

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