Wang Hongyan: Bringing the Ancient Technique of Incense Making to Daily Life
May 25,2023

Wang Hongyan is sorting out the spices to make them easier to organize.

The 44-year-old Wang Hongyan is the inheritor of the Wang’s ancient incense-making technique. This century-old technique, her love for more than 30 years, has been passed down to her for the fifth generation.

“I was born in Shenyang. The most impressive thing in my childhood was that every summer vacation, my mother and I would take a seven-hour green train to go back to my grandmother’s house in the countryside of Benxi. My grandfather died a long time ago, and my grandmother managed the family’s incense house by herself. I learned from my grandmother to recognize incense, pick herbs, collect wild honey, boil herbal salves with jars over charcoal, make incense ingots and medicated soap, knead incense clay, grind incense powder, and make incense sticks at a young age”, said Wang Hongyan. Since then, she began to have interest in and fall in love with this technique.

Wang is burning incense quietly and enjoying the peace and tranquility of nature.

According to Wang Hongyan, making incense requires patience and care. In terms of materials, there are 38 kinds of basic spices, such as eaglewood, sandalwood, frankincense and so on. According to different types, it can be divided into incense sticks, incense towers, incense coils, incense pills, incense plates, incense bags, etc. Different types of incenses take different steps to complete. Generally speaking, the ancient method of making incense requires more than 10 steps, including preparation, concoction, blending, awakening, producing and sorting out.

Among all the steps, blending and concoction are the most crucial. The ratio of the ingredients will directly affect the quality of the incense. The same spice in different incenses means different blending and concoction methods. “Making incense requires constant experimentation, which always brings me surprises.” Wang shared a lot about this technique.

The selection of spices is an important part of the incense making process.

As time goes by, Wang Hongyan has looked through various medical classics and collected many incense recipes. She not only becomes familiar with the ancient incense-making methods, but also gains her own insights into the development of traditional incense making. “From my point of view, in order to carry this technique forward, it is necessary to adhere to the traditional incense-making method and integrate it into modern technique. I have tried to develop products like handmade soaps, hoping to bring incense making into people’s daily life and make it alive again”, said Wang.

Wang is soaking the raw sandalwood with incense liquid.

After years of research and practice, Wang’s ancient incense-making technique has been recognized by more and more people, and is included in the seventh batch of intangible cultural heritage projects in Shenyang this year. “I hope through my efforts, more people will know about this charming technique. Also, techniques with the temperature of traditional culture can be spread and carried forward”, said Wang Hongyan.

Copyright © 2000 - 2024 All Rights Reserved.
辽公网安备 21010202000025号