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Sweet bouquets of Shanghai for Expo perfumes

THE Expo mood can be felt across the city as the 2010 Shanghai event gets closer, but now it has a couple of beautiful fragrances.

The French Expo team recently created a perfume especially for Shanghai Expo, while a Japanese Expo sponsor also released an Expo-themed fragrance. With both to be sold in the city soon, people can expected to enjoy an "Exposition for the Nose" ahead of the 2010 event.

The unique perfume from France has a bottle copying the shape of the France Pavilion at Expo, being wrapped in mesh just the same as the huge mesh wrapping on the pavilion. It is also named after the pavilion - L'Eau de Parfum Pavillon France.

The perfume from Japan, developed by its cosmetic giant Shiseido, has a beautiful white magnolia petal on its cover. It has been called "Shanghai Bouquet."

The pavilion-shape and flower-like bottle have one thing in common, they promote the aroma of the white magnolia - known as flower of Shanghai which has long represented the cosmopolis.

The France Pavilion perfume, one for men and one for women, blends several other aromas. Ylang-ylang, jasmine, plumeria rubra, peony, lilac, rose and musk were included for women, to represent "irresistible charm," while cardamom, mandarine, lotus, patchouli and sandal were used for men to reflect persistence and strength.

The smell is fresh and elegant, said Franck Serrano, a media official for the pavilion. It's all about Shanghai, as the smell comes from Shanghai and its signature flower, he said.

The Expo team spent 18 months creating the perfume, and some Chinese people have been invited to test it.

The French team hoped people will be eager to visit the France Pavilion after smelling the perfume, said Jose Freches, president of the organizers. He said a perfume is a universal language to reflect people's feelings and impressions.

The France Pavilion, dubbed "The Sensual City," will showcase the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feelings of France. The 6,000-square-meter pavilion on the Huangpu River will feature a large garden and water pool in the center of the structure, as well as water outside. The square building, its walls covered by plants, will appear to be floating in water.

Smell will be an important part of the pavilion. Visitors will whiff roses in the "Palace of Versailles" and cream rolls in the French cafes. The pavilion will make visitors "travel with their senses," said Serrano.

The perfumes will go on sale in China in September, priced between 80 yuan (US$11.73) and 90 yuan.

The perfume for Japan looks more Shanghai-style with its magnolia-shape bottle. The company designed two perfumes - one smelling fresh, representing modern Shanghai, while another is more dense, representing the old Shanghai.

The Japanese team considered many icons that could stand for the city in their design of the perfume, such as the city's longtang streets, Oriental Pearl Tower, Yuyuan Garden, Xintiandi and Nanjing Road E. They selected the white magnolia because the flower's beauty can bring the greatest "sensual pleasures," said Kamata Masashi, manager of Shiseido.

All the petals of the flower point upwards, symbolizing vitality and the Shanghai spirit. The flower is also an emblem of best wishes for a successful Shanghai Expo, Masashi said.

"We hope Expo visitors will remember Shanghai by the perfume after the 2010 event," he added.

The "Shanghai Bouquet" costs 150 yuan a bottle and can be purchased soon in the city's tourism spots and hotels.

Q: When did China first participate in the World Expo?

A: China's debut at the World Expo, originally the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, was in London in 1851.

Xu Rongcun, a Chinese businessman from Shanghai, joined in the first World Expo in London in 1851, winning the great award with his own brand "Yung Kee Silk", the medal and certificate still well preserved today.

Apart from that, H.C. Selous, a British artist, depicted a Chinese in official uniform of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in the front right corner of his work "The Opening of the Great Exhibition by Queen Victoria on 1 May 1851." The Chinese was Hesing, also called "Cantonese Lord," who came to Britain on a Chinese ship named Keying that set out from Guangzhou in December 1846.

Passing by the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, the ship, carrying a lot of fine Chinese works of art, anchored along the River Thames in March 1848. The works attracted Queen Victoria and local celebrities like Charles Dickens. As the Chinese goods were displayed in the Great Exhibition, the Cantonese "Lord" was invited as a guest to the grand event's opening ceremony.

Q:In Expo 1855 Paris, Emperor Napoleon III decided to build a magnificent construction for France. What was its name?

A:The Palace of Industry. (Palais de l'Industrie.)

To prove the superiority of Expo 1855 Paris over the previous Great Exhibition in London, Emperor Napoleon III wanted a spectacular exhibition hall based on the design of the Crystal Palace.

The idea had been proposed by architect Jean-Marie-Victor Viel and engineer Desjardin. The Palace of Industry was 259 meters long and 106 meters wide, with its principal nave hall 192 meters long and 48 meters wide surrounded on four sides by two-story aisles 30 meters wide. Its semi-circular trusses bridged a 24-meter span to create an enormous exhibition space.

As a drawback of the design, poor ventilation made the hall rather hot during the day. Furthermore, immense as it was, the palace was not large enough to house all exhibits so that two temporary buildings were constructed to accommodate remaining displays.

In 1900, after performing its function for 45 years, the Palace of Industry was replaced by the Grand Palace (Grand Palais) - one of the exhibition venues for Expo 1900.


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