Guan Grass and Guan Incense

0516_cityfactsYou probably notice these words (guǎn xiāng, guǎn cǎo) are mentioned a lot by local media. They both contain the city’s name, but do they relate to the city? The answer is ‘yes’.  Actually, Dongguan got its name from Guan grass. A long time before Dongguan was even established, Guan grass thrived throughout the region, where it was widely used in weaving products. The area was rich in Guan grass and  in the east of Guangzhou, so why not name it Dong Guan? That is how Dongguan got its name. Years later, Dongguan started exporting another product it is proud of  – Guan incense. It’s a top class of agarwood. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), high quality Guan incense from Dongguan was shipped to the Middle East through Hong Kong. Hong Kong, meaning “fragrant port” literally, got its name from exporting Guan incense.