the Feuerle Collection is the first art museum to present the theme of Chinese incense culture, and the only place in the world where the traditional incense ceremony is reinterpreted as a contemporary artistic practice as part of a curatorial work in dialogue with, and surrounded by, ancient and contemporary art.
The Incense Room complements the synaesthetic concept of The Feuerle Collection and completes Désiré Feuerle’s Gesamtkunstwerk of juxtapositions, including the Sound Room, the Lake Room, works of international contemporary artists, Imperial Chinese furniture and ancient Khmer sculptures. Visitors can now experience a contemporary reinterpretation of this evocative ceremony within the Incense Room of The Feuerle Collection in Berlin.
As one of China’s oldest traditions, the art of incense can be traced back 2000 years to the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). As a spiritual discipline once reserved for scholars and high monks, emperors and dignitaries of the court, it was during the Song dynasty (960–1279 AD) that the use of incense in China reached its height and rooms specially dedicated to incense ceremonies started to be constructed.
Désiré Feuerle, the founder of The Feuerle Collection, worked with Master Wang Chun-Chin, the most important scholar and master of the traditional Imperial Chinese incense ceremony, British architect John Pawson, advisor for Chinese art Jerry Chen, and the traditional Chinese furniture art workshop Degoo-Chunzai, led by Kevin Chen, to design a meticulously researched, modern re-visioning of this highly choreographed and refined ritual.
The Feuerle Incense Ceremony involves the use of rare incense, such as Green Qinan, Bhutan Qinan and Hainan Agarwood, within a performance that explores the relationship between the scents, the senses, the human spirit and nature, revealing the high level of sophistication to which Chinese culture arrived.
Integral to The Feuerle Incense Ceremony are a series of incense tools, an incense table set and stools, as well as specially designed clothing for both the master and guests, such as kimonos and ceremony shoes.
The minimalist contemporary design of the incense table features technological advances that allow for an unfolding of the scent. Its production followed traditional Chinese furniture-making techniques, with the aim of creating a masterpiece in line with the aesthetic quality of gifts received by Chinese emperors.
The result is a private, intense, performative experience where guests are invited to take part in a contemporary interpretation of the utmost precision, steeped in history and tradition.
Désiré Feuerle, founder of The Feuerle Collection says: “The vision of The Feuerle Collection is to create a total artwork, a Gesamtkunstwerk. It breaks with the traditional way of showing art and removes barriers between cultures and ages, the importance of past and importance of today. It leads the spectator to a different way of experiencing art through the senses.”
“The art of incense in China is incredibly complex and relatively unknown in Europe. I wanted to share a contemporary and authentic version of this beautiful, ancient and refined ceremony.”
The Feuerle Collection
Hallesches Ufer 70
10963 Berlin | Germany