"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people"
-Mahatma Ghandi
Publication of Xiang Pu and Xin Zuan Xiang Pu
15 October 2015

CCSC is pleased to announce that after more than 5 years in the making, the critical editions of Xiang Pu and Xin Zuan Xiang Pu are now published!

Xiang Pu (also known as Hong Chu Xiang Pu) and Xin Zuan Xiang Pu (also known as Chen Shi Xiang Pu) are two of the most intact extant compendiums on incense from the 12th and 13th century period, and were compiled at a time in China’s history when incense use had developed into a mature cultural practice that was engrained in a wide range of activities. From religious ceremonies to ancestor veneration, from traditional medicine to time-keeping and even a sophisticated art form (xiang dao;
香道), the use of incense pervaded both private and public, elite and common, and religious, secular, political, and economic spaces.

The two xiang pu cover historical and sometimes anedoctal information on incense use, incense descriptions and grades, prescriptions, and formulations. Beyond information on incense, the xiang pu has much to offer on traditional plant morphology and classification, and Chinese medicine (ailments and their prescribed cures). CCSC has collaborated with Northwest Normal University (Lanzhou) for the past 5 years to create a 點校本(dianjiaoben; or a collated, critical edition) of the two texts.

Creating a critical edition of Xiang Pu and Xin Zuan Xiang Pu required working with and referring to all the different editions (both printed and hand-copied) of the texts from the Ming and Qing dynasty that are extant. Below are just three of the editions of Xiang Pu that were used in the textual criticism. The particular page shown below from all three editions shows the entry on Longnaoxiang (translated literally as Dragon Brain incense), or borneol:

From left to right: Edition of Xiang Pu held in the National Library of China, part of the compendium Shuo Fu. Hand-copied, Ming Dynasty, 中國國家圖書館藏明藍口鈔百卷《說郛》本(二)

Edition of Xiang Pu from compendium by Hu Wen Huan printed in the Ming Dynasty during the 31st year of the reign of
Wan Li, 明萬曆三十一年胡文煥刻《格致叢書》本

Edition of Xiang Pu re-printed by Zong Hua Shu Ju, part of the compendium Bai Chuan Xue Hai, published in Southern Song Dynasty. Held at the National Library of China, 中國國家圖書館藏南宋刻《百川學海》本(二)

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