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The seduction of the palate

cooking and eating in China

Exhibition poster © musée du quai Branly - Click to enlarge, open in a new window


  • East Mezzanine
  • Collections ticket


  • Jean-Paul Desroches, General Heritage Curator, musée des Arts Asiatiques Guimet
  • Yan Zhi, National Museum of China

Exhibition presented in partnership with the National Museum of China.


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exhibition preview

the exhibition

The Seductions of the Palate presents Chinese tableware traditions through a hundred objects mainly from the collections of our exhibition partner, the National Museum of China, and complemented by a selection of works from the musée des Arts asiatiques Guimet.

For over 7000 years, cooking and eating in China has contributed to shaping the country's civilization. However, this tradition cannot merely be reduced to daily habits organised around a set of objects. With the passage of time, fascinating and in-depth discoveries have been made regarding the various implications of these tableware traditions. To illustrate this, one needs only to evoke the evolution of tableware throughout the ages. Neolithic pottery tableware soon metamorphosed into bronze during the first three royal dynasties (2nd and 1st millennia B.C.) and was then replaced by lacquerware (from the 3rd century B.C. ) and then by gold and silver for the Tang palaces (618-907), before the definitive triumph of delicate porcelain under the Songs (960-1278).

The exhibition is divided into two main sections: the first anchors the phenomenon in its historical context while describing the main stages of its chronological development through different types of tableware, various inventions (including those of pasta and the introduction of tea), the many foodstuffs and preparations etc. The second  has a different approach to Chinese cuisine and examines its geographical distribution.

Exhibition media partners