Fujian’s Arabs to promote tradition of making incense

Residents of Arab descent in Quanzhou, Fujian province want to revive a traditional family business: making incense.
Arab traders in ancient times first brought incense to Quanzhou, an important port along China’s historic Maritime Silk Road, 1,000 years ago.
It was a prevalent product on the route, and its manufacture soon became a pillar industry in the city.
Pu Lianggong, 63, is descended from an Arab spice trader who eventually settled in Quanzhou.
As a 17th-generation member of the Pu family, he has been learning how to make incense since he was 5.
Family elders taught him to recognize hundreds of types of spices. Combining dozens of these with herbs produce the incense needed for different seasons and purposes.
The skill has been passed down through generations by word of mouth, and takes years to master.
Pu’s son, Pu Haixing, has started an incense-making course in the local vocational school where students learn how to make incense and present it properly.
Traditionally, incense is used for solemn, religious occasions. In today’s hectic lifestyles, it has found another use: to de-stress.
The Pu family hopes their efforts will revive the incense industry, making it once again a mainstream enterprise.

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