Shipping crate for “superior benzoin incense” from the Macao firm of 陳天祥 “Chan Tin Cheung”. This firm was one of eighteen members of an incense manufacturers’ guild that formed in 1898–9.
Wing Hing Long Museum, Tingha
TRANSCRIPTION AND TRANSLATION
Chan Tin Cheung’s superior benzoin incense.
Macao, Eastern Yuet.
粵東 “Eastern Yuet”: 粵 “Yuet” was the name of a vast area of southern China that was home to the ancient Yuet peoples, and does not correspond to the provincial or other administrative boundaries of any Chinese state. Such expressions as “粵東/東粵” “Eastern Yuet”, “粵西/西粵” “Western Yuet”, and “兩粵” “The Two Yuet” were, however, often used as literary and history-referencing substitutes for the province names “Kwang Tung”, “Kwang Hsi” and the “The Two Kwang” (both Kwang Tung and Kwang Hsi) respectively, in much the same way as the words “Hibernia” and “Caledonia” are used in English as literary and history-referencing substitutes for “Ireland” and “Scotland”. On the crate, the more nebulous sense of the expression “Eastern Yuet” enables it to be employed in respect of Macao, which was not, at the time in question, part of the province of Kwang Tung, but rather a Portuguese colony.
陳天祥 “Chan Tin Cheung”: 陳天祥 “Chan Tin Cheung” is a known Macao firm. It was one of eighteen members of an incense manufacturers’ guild that formed in 1898–9. 陳聯馨 “Chun Lun Hing” was another member of this guild: see Red-printed incense stick packaging and Multicolour-printed incense stick packaging.
Incense manufacturer’s guild: For more information, see 蔡珮玲 [Cài Pèilíng], 澳門神香業 [Àomén Shénxiāngyè “Macao’s Religious Incense Sector”], pp. 55–56.
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