This exhibition presents a novel approach of Chinese civilisation through the exploration of the art of incense and perfume in China from the 3rd century BCE to the 19th century.
Bringing together close to 110 art and archaeology objects together for the first time, it will take you on a journey through Chinese civilisation.
A selection of ceramics, drawings, bronzes, and paintings from the collections of the Shanghai Museum is presented for the first time in Europe alongside some twenty pieces from the Musée Cernuschi collections. These exceptional loans will immerse visitors in an original and sensorial discovery of the museum, punctuated with olfactory experiences throughout the chronological progression of the exhibition.
Endowed with increasing symbolic qualities through the ages, perfume provides a fitting outlook on many aspects of Chinese culture. From its significance in liturgical practices to its association with the art de vivre of intellectual circles, incense has given rise to a great variety of artistic productions. From fragrance burners to incense tables, the history of perfume in China is an opportunity to explore some of the most superb artistic creations in a great variety of mediums. The pieces presented here will give visitors a broad overview of Chinese craftsmanship, from bronzesmiths to lacquer painters to bamboo sculptors. Lastly, a collection of works by the greatest painters, such as Chen Hongshou and Qiu Ying, depicts elegant ladies, hermits and scholars and their relationship to incense, whether used for toiletry, meditative, or ritualistic purposes.
The exhibition is supported by Dior Parfums and presents the exclusive creations of its perfumer François Demachy.
This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous collaboration of the Shanghai Museum.