The Perfumed Palace: Islam’s Journey from Mecca to Peking

M.A. Aldrich and Lukas Nikol


The Perfumed Palace is a tapestry of words and pictures portraying one of the oldest and most distinctive Islamic communities in the world: the Muslims of Peking. While it is not widely known, Islam first arrived in China in the seventh century CE and rapidly became an integral part of China’s social fabric. By 996 CE, Muslims had established a presence in Beijing and so began a process of blending so far-reaching that today, casual observers of northern China might be completely unaware of their existence.

M.A. Aldrich has lived in Greater China for more than 18 years. He is a partner in the Beijing office of a London-based international law firm. He is the author of The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China’s Capital Through the Ages and is also a contributor to Beijing: Portrait of a City.

Lukas Nikol is a professional photographer and graphic designer living in Munich. He is a frequent traveler to the Far East. In 2006, he published, with Christian Kracht and Eva Munz, Die Totale Erinnerung, which is the first unauthorized photographic study of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. An English version, entitled The Ministry of Truth: Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, was released in 2007.