Ancient Incense Craze

Updated: 2007-05-18 09:25

Ancient Incense Craze

Are diamonds really a girl's best friend?Not necessarily, when compared with a bottle of the world's premium brand perfumes like Chanel No. 5. In China, Western perfumes have dominated the upscale segment of the fragrance market for years but few people know that hundreds of years ago, China had its own perfumes based on the country's unique culture and tastes. The perfumes were not only used to pamper the nose, but also represented a way of life.

An Art of Living

Incenses and Chinese-style perfumes were common household items in olden times. Nowadays, essential oils and incense candles are being imported into China, but a long time ago ancient Chinese already knew how to make incenses and perfumes.

Incense's popularity was much stronger in the past than at present. It was very common for people, especially those from noble families, to place incense burners in their houses and even near their beds. Before leaving the house, the noblemen would have their clothes infused with incense so that they could enjoy the sweet smell all day long.

According to many classic Chinese books, poems, paintings and antiques, fashion-conscious women would wear the nectars distilled from many kinds of flowers such as lily, lotus and chrysanthemum. Every morning they would apply a few drops of the nectars, which would keep them smelling good the whole day.

It was also common for high-ranking families to invite friends over to appreciate some special kinds of incenses. This kind of party was just as popular as the karaoke parties of today.

Ancient Chinese also made frequent use of scented cosmetics. Lipsticks were very popular among fashionable women as far back as 1,000 years ago. Made of wax, the lipsticks were scented and during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), up to 12 scents were used. Like the ones today, they were used to protect the delicate skin of the lips. Lipsticks were also used by these women as a token of love.If they met a man they liked, they would present him with handkerchiefs carrying their red lip prints.

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