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Scents & sensibility

By Zhao Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-21 13:48
Boshan Mountain incense burner, popular during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), provided by Hebei Provincial Museum.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Over the centuries China has shown itself ready to adopt new concepts, cultures and products and eventually make them all its own

"Such was the continuity and wholeness of Chinese civilization that anything brought to it and considered foreign would ultimately be internalized once it was adopted," says Zhao Liya, a book editor turned historian who has just written for the catalog of an exhibition at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris titled the Perfumes of China - the Incense Culture of the Imperial Times. The exhibition is a joint effort of the French museum and the Shanghai Museum.

"When foreign spices entered China in huge quantities during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) between the early seventh and the early 10th centuries, it smelled exoticism, and it was in this that their attraction mainly resided."

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