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Scents & sensibility

Updated: 2018-04-21 13:48:55

( China Daily )

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Bronze quadripod from Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC).[Photo provided to China Daily]

"The ship and its load have been dated back to China's Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), an era that directly followed the Song," Jiang says. "It is clear that by that time China was already exporting its own spice culture and paraphernalia to other countries."

In fact, if you listen to Zhang Deshui, director of the Henan Provincial Museum in Central China, two-way or even multi-way exchanges are what lie at the origin and heart of the formation of all civilizations.

"People talk about Zhang Qian (164-114 BC), the Han Dynasty explorer and Silk Road opener who traveled from the Chinese heartland to West Asia and then back," Zhang says. "But close study has revealed that the exchanges, cultural and material between China and the vast Eurasian landmass lying to its west and northwest far precedes Zhang Qian's historic journey. In a sense, the ancient Silk Road existed long before its 'official' opening."

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