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Smell the incense and know the furnace

Incense smelling began in the Spring and Autumn, developed and shaped in Han, matured and completed in Tang, flourished in Song, and continued steadily in Yuan, Ming and Qing. In the Song Dynasty, incense ceremony popularized folk, has become a leisure activity of the literati. Incense tasting and tea, flower arrangement, hanging paintings and known as the “four leisure things” to cultivate the body. Song dynasty incense ceremony, incense is a lot of tools, such as bottles, incense boxes, incense spoons, incense chopsticks, incense broom, ash shovel, spacers, etc., but the most important incense is smelling incense burner. Smelling incense stove is mostly porcelain, perhaps it is not easy to hold the stove when the heat transfer reason.


Song Dynasty popular “fire incense”, that is, in the bottom of the furnace spread enough incense ash, and then buried in the furnace chamber mica or silver foil shim, the spices cut off the wood in the shim to upload combustion, thus, it is estimated that the furnace wall more or less warm.


Smell the incense, is the incense ceremony in a process of appreciation of the incense, smell the incense to identify the type of incense, experience the different fragrance of the combustion changes, and then write down on the incense notes to smell the incense experience. The incense ceremony often has more than one guest, and everyone sits in a dignified and quiet atmosphere. When tasting incense, the host with the right hand to hold the furnace, the left hand arch five fingers into a hollow hemisphere, light cover the mouth of the furnace to gather the aroma, and then lead the nose close to the furnace slowly inhale incense tasting. After sniffing incense three times, the host will be handed the furnace clockwise from the left hand to the guest’s right hand, the guest sniffed incense three times and passed the furnace to the next person in accordance with this. It is worth mentioning that, according to the photo of Professor Liu Liangyou’s incense demonstration, incense tasters hold the furnace gesture is also very standardized: thumb and index finger to hold the top of the furnace under the wide folded edge of the incense burner, the middle finger to lean on the outer belly of the furnace, the remaining two fingers hooked to the waist of the furnace, so that a chamber burning charcoal and incense wood of the porcelain furnace is held tight and stable.

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