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Heaven on earth
2022年6月8日,北京,观众在中国国家博物馆内参观中国古代_106456.jpg 展厅里模拟的古代酿酒蒸馏场景_106460.jpg 一名观众正在参观彩陶饮食器具上丰富多样的图案纹路_106459.jpg 一名观众在拍摄展出上陈列的中国各地的名菜_106458.jpg 1972年在新疆吐鲁番阿斯塔那唐墓出土的各类面食_106455.jpg
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  • A visitor takes in an exhibition of ancient Chinese food culture at the National Museum of China in Beijing on June 8
  • The exhibition features a simulation of ancient wine distillation
  • A spectator looks at the rich pottery patterns from different periods in Chinese history
  • A visitor takes pictures of famous dishes from all over China on display at the exhibition
  • Various types of pasta unearthed from the Astana ancient cemetery in Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in 1972
  • 2022年6月8日,北京,观众在中国国家博物馆内参观中国古代_106456.jpg
  • 展厅里模拟的古代酿酒蒸馏场景_106460.jpg
  • 一名观众正在参观彩陶饮食器具上丰富多样的图案纹路_106459.jpg
  • 一名观众在拍摄展出上陈列的中国各地的名菜_106458.jpg
  • 1972年在新疆吐鲁番阿斯塔那唐墓出土的各类面食_106455.jpg

The old Chinese saying "to the people, food is heaven" is a good indication that the people of China are pretty serious about food and eating. Suffice it to say, they love to eat, and when they are not actually eating, they are either talking about eating or planning what to eat next.

All clichés aside, there are at least three reasons for the nation's tasty fascination that dates back several millennia. One, a longstanding civilization. China has been developing the many food sources at its disposal since ancient times—now that's "honing your cuisine craft." Two, a wide geographical range. The country's landscape covers desolate deserts, thick jungles, rolling grasslands and fertile plains; putting to good use what Mother Nature has to offer, menus are further modified to cater to local palates. And three, ancient China was plagued by famines. As a result, the people can spice things up by getting creative with whatever ingredients they may have at hand.

The Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Food Culture hosted by the National Museum of China in Beijing features pieces (sets) of cultural relics, from the historical dining table to the contemporary booth. From the carbonized rice of the Liangzhu civilization, the last Neolithic jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta, to the bronze kitchen kits of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.), the various vegetables, fruits and meat preferences of the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-A.D. 220), and the duck-shaped tin teapot of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)... This exhibition tells the tales of China's different tastes over the past 5,000 years and serves up a real treat for all the food culture lovers out there!

(Text and photos by Wei Yao)

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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