Heaven scent

Updated: 2011-09-26 07:54

(China Daily)

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Heaven scent

Chinese people have used xiang nang, or scented sachets, for about 3,000 years. The sachet is a cloth bag containing powders made from herbs and traditional Chinese medicines. These include argy wormwood leaf, flower petals, and powdered realgar.

During the Dragon Boat Festival, on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar, people carried around the sachets to drive away mosquitoes.

The cloth bags, generally handmade by women, have over time become works of art. Patterns such as flowers, birds, butterflies, dragons and phoenixes are popular.

Cloth bags were a common accessory for the upper classes and up to the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420) men often carried them. After this period, just women used them.

Today, sachets are often given as gifts to express good wishes, though they are rarely home made. Also, they are made from chemicals rather than herbs, which don't keep as long.

But people still believe sachets are blessed, especially when they are handmade by brides. At some traditional Chinese weddings, brides spend a lot of time making sachets and give them to wedding guests.


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