A cobalt-blue three-foot porcelain censer of Qing Dynasty, the collection of Shanxi Museum. [Photo provided to China Daily] Burning incense has a long history in China. In olden times, people burnt fragrant plants at rituals by which they hoped the smoke and the good smell would connect with the ancestors and the world of deities. Then gradually, incense became one of the commodities to bridge the Chinese and the world and a product to clean air indoors and to bring people mental comfort. Also, burning incense in fine apparatuses constituted an essential part of the cultural life of the upper-class scholars, as important as critiquing artworks, enjoying tea, listening guqin music and appreciating the art of bonsai.