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Exhibition on Chinese culinary culture shows land of plenty

Updated: 2023-02-01 10:44 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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Chinese Culinary Legacies, an exhibition on the culture surrounding food in ancient China, running through April 2, is held at the Ningbo Museum in Zhejiang province. [Photo by Li Anning/ for China Daily]

The National Museum of China has toured Chinese Culinary Legacies, an exhibition on the food culture in ancient China, to Ningbo Museum in Zhejiang province. The exhibition, running through April 2, celebrates the scope and depth of Chinese culinary culture and people's creativity to make it a national brand.

A Chinese saying goes, that "food is the paramount necessity of the masses". The country has developed an ever thriving, diverse culinary culture which is reflected in the ways of how food is cultivated, prepared and served, the rituals to relate food to politics, social mentality and family relations, as well as the connection between China and the rest of the world built by food and its apparatus, such as tea and ceramics.

Food was linked to social strata, for example, rices, meat and beverages were presented in different kinds of bronze ware at royal ceremonies during the Shang (c.16th century-11th century BC) and Zhou (c.11th century-771 BC) dynasties. Delicate dishes, tea and dish wares formed a part of the fine lifestyle led by the high society in the Song Dynasty (960-1127).

Culinary arts were depicted and hailed in traditional music, classic paintings and poems. Many intellectuals and artists were themselves gastronomes, such as Su Dongpo, the Song Dynasty poet who is said to be the creator of the popular dish, braised Dongpo meat.

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