Literary Images of Incense in Japan

 Hangonkō (返魂香, magical incense which can conjure up the spirits of the dead) from the Konjaku Hyakki Shūi

She raised her head, a look of exaltation upon her face. Japan had triumphed, and Japan's triumph was her triumph; Japan's victory, her victory.

Her eyes into which a light had come gazed slowly around the room and she saw before her the family shrine. She looked at it a moment, then she crossed the room, quietly, softly, and, kneeling before the shrine, she slowly opened the doors. In it were the family Ihai, the tablets of
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the dead. One had no name upon it. To-morrow the spirit name of her boy would be written upon it by the family priest, and from that day she must speak of him by his new name, by the name which was his in the Land of Shadows. But to-night he was her boy, her Taro, and she could call him by the name she loved.

She placed the vacant Ihai in the center of the altar, and took from within the shrine two candlesticks on which were unlighted candles, and placed them in front of the open doors. Then she placed before the candles the two burners holding little sticks of incense, and in front of them two small cups. She slowly lighted the candles, the incense, and poured rice into one of the cups and water into the other. Then still kneeling before the shrine around which the incense was rising in faint blue curls of smoke, she gazed with all her heart in her eyes at the Ihai in the center of the altar, the Ihai that was now all that remained to her of her son.

But no, it was not all that remained! Behind that Ihai, entwined with the smoke of the incense, she saw Japan rise triumphant. Japan with the sword of victory in the one hand and holding aloft with the other the flag of the Rising Sun.

She stared at the vision beautiful, her face glowing as if from some holy light from within, then she touched her head to the mat once— twice—thrice—and holding out her hands to the Ihai whose gilding gleamed from within the dark interior, she gave a low cry in which the note of exaltation rose clear and strong above the anguish in her voice,

"Sayonara, my Taro San, Sayonara."
The heart of O Sono San
By Elizabeth Cooper

No Japanese ever smells incense: he is merely conscious of it. Incense is full of divine and beautiful suggestion; but the moment you begin to vulgarize it by talking, or even thinking of its smell, all beauty and significance are destroyed.
Japan as seen and described by famous writers
edited by Esther Singleton

Each one of the faithful throws his scented rings into a gigantic bronze incense-burner, whose open-worked cover is ornamented with the signs of the zodiac and terminated by a chimaerical lion. Tiny threads of the blue smoke spring from the holes and mount as they quiver and unfold into diaphanous lilies which soon drop their leaves and make a pale fog high above in the mysterious shadow. This fog of perfumes renders still more confused those singular objects that hang about and scintillate from various heights: there are large round dais with splendid fringes of silk, fantastic beasts embroidered upon banners upon which you perceive shining scales of gold, lanterns of all forms upon which are painted black dragons or large Chinese letters, streamers and waving strips of silk ornamented with braids and tassels, inscriptions and maxims painted or embroidered, and other unfamiliar objects.
Japan as seen and described by famous writers
edited by Esther Singleton

The noble simplicity of its garments and the calm purity of its features are in perfect accord with the sentiment of serenity inspired by its presence. A grove, consisting of some beautiful groups of trees, forms the enclosure of the sacred place, whose silence and solitude are never disturbed. The small cell of the attendant priest can hardly be discerned amongst the foliage. The altar, on which a little incense is burning at the feet of the Divinity, is composed of a small brass table ornamented by two lotus vases of the same metal, and beautifully wrought. The steps of the altar are composed of large slabs forming regular lines. The blue of the sky, the deep shadow of the statue, the sombre colour of the brass, the brilliancy of the flowers, the varied verdure of the hedges and the groves, fill this solemn retreat with the richest effect of light and colour. The idol of the Daiboudhs, with the platform that supports it, is twenty yards high.
Japan as seen and described by famous writers
edited by Esther Singleton

I go in, feeling that soft, cushioned matting beneath my feet with which the floors of all Japanese buildings are covered. I pass the indispensable bell and lacquered reading-desk; and before me I see other screens only, stretching from floor to ceiling. The old man, still coughing, slides back one of these upon the right, and waves me into the dimness of an inner sanctuary, haunted by faint odours of incense. A colossal bronze lamp, with snarling gilded dragons coiled about its columnar stem, is the first object I discern; and, in passing it, my shoulder sets ringing a festoon of little bells suspended from the lotus-shaped summit of it. Then I reach the altar, gropingly, unable yet to distinguish forms clearly. But the priest, sliding back screen after screen, pours in light upon the gilded brasses and the inscriptions; and I look for the image of the Deity, or presiding Spirit between the altar-groups of convoluted candelabra. And I see—only a mirror, a round, pale disk of polished metal and my own face therein, and behind this mockery of me a phantom of the far sea.
Only a mirror! Symbolizing what? Illusion? or that the Universe exists for us solely as the reflection of our own souls? or the old Chinese teaching that we must seek the
Buddha only in our own hearts? Perhaps some day I shall be able to find out all these things.
Japan as seen and described by famous writers
edited by Esther Singleton

On the altars are draped, standing figures of Buddha with glories round their heads, in gorgeous shrines, looking like Madonnas, and below them the altar-pieces previously mentioned, fresh flowers in the vases, and the curling smoke of incense diffusing a dreamy fragrance.
Antique lamps, burning low and never extinguished, hang in front of the shrine. The fumes of incense, the tinkling of small bells, lighted candles on the high altar, the shaven crowns and flowing vestments of the priests, the prostrations and processions, the chanting of litanies in an unknown tongue, the "chancel rail," the dim light, and
many other resemblances, both slight and important, recall the gorgeousness of the Roman ritual. From whence came the patterns of all these shrines, lamps, candlesticks, and brazen vessels, which Buddhist, Ritualist, Greek, and Romanist alike use, the tongues of flame in the temples, the holy water, the garments of the officiating priests, the candles and flowers on the altar, the white robes of the pilgrims, and all the other coincident affinities which daily startle one? Even the shops of the shrine-makers look like "ecclesiastical decoration" shops in Oxford Street.
Unbeaten tracks in Japan: an account of travels in the interior ..., Volume 1
By Isabella Lucy Bird

The details fade from my memory daily as I leave the shrines, and in their place are picturesque masses of black and red lacquer and gold, gilded doors opening without noise, halls laid with matting so soft that not a footfall sounds, across whose twilight the sunbeams fall aslant on richly arabesqued walls and panels carved with birds and flowers, and on ceilings panelled and wrought with elaborate art, of inner shrines of gold, and golden lilies six feet high, and curtains of gold brocade, and incense fumes, and colossal bells and golden ridge poles; of the mythical fauna, kirin, dragon, and howo, of elephants, apes, and tigers, strangely mingled with flowers and trees, and golden tracery, and diaper work on a gold ground, and lacquer screens, and pagodas, and groves of bronze lanterns, and shaven priests in gold brocade, and Shinto attendants in black lacquer caps, and gleams of sunlit gold here and there, and simple monumental urns, and a mountain-side covered with a cryptomeria-forest, with rose azaleas lighting up its solemn shade.
Unbeaten tracks in Japan: an account of travels in the interior ..., Volume 1
By Isabella Lucy Bird

The "incense-shop" is one of the choicest and most truly Japanese of curio-shops. It looks, from the street, an every-day affair; but after propitiating the attendants by a purchase of perfume, the inner wealth is revealed in rooms filled with the choicest old wares. The salesmen tempt the visitor with rare koros, or incense-burners, and, in an elementary way, the master plays the daimio's old game of the Twenty Perfumes. He sprinkles on the hibachi's glowing coals some little black morsels in the shape of leaves, blossoms', or characters; scattering green particles, brown particles, and grayish ones, and showing the ignorant alien how to catch the ascending column of pale-blue smoke in the bent hand, close the fingers upon it, and convey it to the nose. You cannot tell which odor you prefer, nor remember which dried particle gave forth a particular fragrance. The nose is bewildered by the commingled wreaths and mixed cathedral odors, and the master chuckles delightedly.
Jinrikisha days in Japan
By Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore

Touched with a peculiar tenderness and pathos is the Festival of the Dead, observed from the thirteenth to the fifteenth of July. In every house new mats of rice straw are laid before the little shrines, and a tiny meal is set out for the spirits of the departed. When evening comes, the streets are brilliant with flaming torches, and lanterns are hung in every doorway. Those whose friends have only lately left them make this night a true memorial to their dead, going out to the cemeteries, where they offer prayers, burn incense, light lanterns and fill bamboo vases with the flowers they have brought. On the evening of the third day the Ghosts of the Circle of Penance are fed, and those who have no friends living to remember them. Then on every streamlet, every river, lake and bay of Japan — except in the largest seaports, where it is now forbidden — appear fleets of tiny boats, bearing gifts of food and loving farewells. The light of a miniature lantern at its bow and blue wreaths of smoke from burning incense mark the course of each little vessel. In these fairy craft the spirits take their departure for the land of the hereafter.
The spell of Japan
By Isabel Anderson

The temple of Buddha, with its unpainted exterior, its bare pillars in their naked simplicity, its glint of gold, its magnificent carvings, the delicate fragrance of burning incense, its candles, its wealth of symbolism — all this is a fading memory; yet its fascination lingers. We wonder how much of the temple of Buddha we really saw, how much we felt the presence of that power which is so intimately linked with the spirit of the East and with the genius of the Oriental peoples. We felt the reverence —
unexpressed in word or outward act — with which our hosts, the priests, drew our attention to the inscription above the altar, painted in golden Japanese characters by the hand of the late Emperor, which, being interpreted, means, " See Truth."
The spell of Japan
By Isabel Anderson

And what with all these things, and a glimpse of a torii and a shrine, and the musical sound of scraping wooden clogs upon the pavement and the faint pervasive fragrance, suggesting blended odours of new pine wood, incense, and spice—which is to me the smell of Japan; though hostile critics will be quick to remind me of the odour of paddy fields —what with all these sights and sounds and smells, so alluring and antipodal, I began to think we must be motoring through a celestial suburb, toward the gates of Paradise itself.
Mysterious Japan
By Julian Street

The Neglected Sense by Edward Dillon(The living age, Volume 201)

The Neglected Sense by Edward Dillon(The living age, Volume 201)

From The Nineteenth Century. A NEGLECTED SENSE.

A Large and choice collection of Japanese lacquer and metal ware has lately been brought together at the Burlington Fine Arts Club. During the somewhat laborious process of classifying, arranging, and cataloguing, nothing was more prominent than the large number of objects connected in one way or another with the burning of incense. Not only among the bronzes, which included censers of every description and design, but, where it was less to be expected, among the smaller objects of lacquer exhibited, we found that in a majority of cases the delicate little boxes so much prized by collectors had formerly served to bold incense of fragrant woods. Other large boxes there were, also of the very choicest lacquer, containing smaller ones arranged on trays, and sometimes other objects, as miniature braziers and packets of illuminated paper. Larger still, measuring perhaps a foot each way, are the boxes containing the complete equipment for the ancient Japanese game of perfumes, or more literally "incense arrangement" (Ko-awase).1 There are so many points of interest connected with this game, and the ground is, as far as I know, so completely unexplored, that it may be worth while to give a somewhat detailed account of these objects and the uses to winch they were put.

Closely packed, then, In a square box of lacquer, or it may be arranged in the drawers and on the shelves of a miniature cabinet, we find a number of elaborate implements. The greater lacquer artists of the eighteenth century, the Komas, the Kajikawas, and the Shunshos— but like other important objects of old lacquer they are never signed — had expended their highest skill not only in the decoration of the case, but also in that of the various contents. One scheme of decoration runs through

1 There were two seta of the perfume game displayed in the club exhibition, and the information given above is chiefly derived from the very complete account contributed to the catalogue by Mr. William Gowland. The boxes described belong to Sir Trevor Lawrence and to Mr. James Gurney.

the whole, and the motif is never of a Chinese source. It is rather with the illustrations to the old Japanese literature, especially with those to the mediaeval tales of chivalry known as the *' Ise" and "Genji Monogatari," that I he general plan of the decoration is connected. But although the Japanese say that the game is an ancient one, none of the examples in European collections, as far as I know, have any claim to an earlier date than the beginning of the last century. Without the aid of illustrations it would be tedious to describe in any detail the various objects and their uses, but some general idea may be given of this ceremonial game, which it is said was only played among the court nobles and the aristocracy. I have a small illustrated manuscript devoted to this subject, but although the various pieces are carefully drawn, there is no information beyond the mere names written at the side.

To play the game various kinds of incense and of fragrant wood arc burnt either alone or in combination by one of the players, and it is the duty of the others, of whom there would appear to be three, to show that they recognized the perfumes by placing counters ia certain positions on a chequered board. We find, then, within the case, or small cabinet, one or more smaller boxes, or it may be brocade cases, containing carefully folded bags of silk or gilt paper in which the incense is kept. Another box contains the fragrant woods and the charcoal for the brazier. With a small silver spatula, sometimes delicately inlaid with enamel, the iucense is taken from its case and placed upon a silver-framed plate of mica, about an inch square; then with a silver forceps, inlaid like the spatula, the little mica plate supporting the pinch of incense is held over a small brazier provided with an open-work cover of silver, in which a few pieces of carefully prepared charcoal are glowing upon a well-smoothed bed of ashes.

By the side we have a tray of lac: quer with a number of medallions of 'mother-of-pearl, each iu the shape of a chrysanthemum flower, or it may be of a maple leaf. When the incense is ignited the mica, plate is placed to cool apon one of the medallions. Now apparently is the time for the other players to show their skill, by choosing the counter corresponding to the perfume Lurut, and placing it in its proper position on the chequer board. These ciumters — there are one hundred and twenty of them in the set we are describing— are thin, oblong slips of dark wood, about an inch in length. On one side is inscribed a number, 1, 2, or 3, thirty counters for each number; this accounts for ninety; on the remaining thirty the character for the word "guest" is written. The guest is probably the player who is "in band" — llint is, burning the incense. On the other side of the counters we find a series of ten subjects, charming little miniature paintings, twelve counters for each subject. Such a series generally includes various flowers and birds, or maybe an insect, the moon, or a strange geometrical design resembling snow crystals. In one of the sets the subjects are the ten kinds of musical instruments used for the old court music. I have passed over a number of small implements, some for arranging the charcoal in the brazier and testing its temperature, others of uncertain use. In the more complete boxus we find, in addition, a set of miniature tools, a saw, a chisel, a knife, and a hammer, to be employed in culling up the fragrant woods. Finally, in one instance, room is found for a writing-box (suzuri-bako), so that check may be kept of the progress of the game, or notes made upon interesting points.

I have so far been unable to find out what kinds of fragrant woods, whether native or imported, and what varieties of incense were employed. In all the sets that I have examined the papers were cniply, and the inscriptions on them referred only to the designs on the counters. Tradition says that when the game was played, no scented flowers were allowed in the room.1

1 Mr. Kowaki sends me, too late for insertion in

Quite apart from the exquisite beauty and finish of the apparatus, there is one point of surpassing interest in this game. If the interpretation given is a correct one, the Japanese may claim to have developed the sense of smell to a higher point than we Western nations have any conception of. It is not a case, as with us, of the placid enjoyment of a simple stimulus, as when we smell a rose or the scent on a handkerchief, but here there is an intellectual effort made to distinguish one variety of stimulus from another, and even to analyze a compound odor into iis elements. This we may compare to a case of a musician naming the different notes of the scale, or separating the several elements which are combined to form a harmony.

Surely there is a suggestion in this of a new branch of art, which I recommend especially to our French neighbors, and to those among us who are eager for fresh fields of reslhelic enjoyment. I think that the symbolic school of poets, and especially those who in their versos lay claim to the gift of associating visions of color with the various vowel sounds of their language, might with less difficulty evolve associations between perfumes and sounds,

the text, some additional facts that he has collected bearing on the use of incense in Japan. Incense, according to Japanese antiquaries, was brought to Japan by the Buddhist missionaries in the sixth century A.D. The earliest mention of an incense game is In the " Geuji Monogatari," a romance of the tenth century, which deals chiefly with the amorous intrigues of an exiled prince. This is one of the most well-known works of the old court literature. We often find that the chapters are headed by a series of diagrams made up of horizontal and vertical lines, known as the K6nonizu or incense diagrams. The manner probably in which these lines are joined refers in some way to different combinations of perfume. The period of the revival of arts at the close of the fifteenth century under the Ashikaga Shogun Yoshimasa is regarded as the time when the perfume game was most fully organized and most in vogue. As to what was burnt, natural woods and gum-resins exuding from certain trees are vaguely referred to by the authorities, but it is said the materials differed with the various schoolsof players. There is preserved at the temple of Shnso-in, at Nara, some specimens of a scented wood, known as Hanjatai, which were brought to Japan (I suppose from Korea or Chinal in the eighth century. The art of perfumes is referred to in the old books as the K5-d3, the road or doctrine of incense.

for we well know that no sense has a stronger power oE suggestion than that of smell. I have a suspicion, but no proof, that some association of this sort, whether with sound or sight, is sought by the Japanese in the little pictured counters that we have described.

It would seem that the idea of raising the olfactory sense to the level of an art has occurred to others before now. The French archaeologist Didron took a special interest in this inquiry, and there are many allusions to it scattered through his '• Annales Archdologiques." I find there a story (which, by the way, I strongly suspect of being apocryphal) of

a poor peasant from Brittany, of a dreamy and eccentric nature, who invented an " art of perfumes" while musing over the scents of the flowers of his native fields. He claimed to have discovered the harmonious relation existing between odors. He came to Paris with a perfume box of many compartments to give a "concert of perfumes," passed, however, for a madman, and returning to his native home died in obscurity.

Again, more than one ingenious person has constructed a scale of perfumes, finding parallels between differeut scents and the notes of an octave. There are, indeed, points of resemblance between the terminations of the olfactory nerve on the surface of the mucous membrane which lines the passages at the back of the nose, and the arrangement at the end of the nerve of hearing knowu as the organ of Corti. In fact, certain physiologists have gone so far as to doubt whether the stimulus to the olfactory nerve be really a mechanical one, rather than some form of vibratory movement.

We nowadays pay so little heed to the pleasures to be derived from the souse of smell, and are at such pains to avoid contact with unpleasant odors, that there is a dauger of our losing the sense altogether. Professor Michael Foster, treating the subject from the point of view of the comparative biologist, recognizes this sense in man as in some degree vestigial, " the remnant

of a once powerful mechanism. With this," he says, "we may connect the fact that the olfactory fibres have connected with them virtually a whole segment of the brain (the olfactory lobes)." He further points out that the olfactory sensations seem to have an unusually direct path to the inner working of the nervous system. As related to this close connection with the higher nervous centres he mentions the powerful reflex effects of a few odorous particles which may cause fainting or dizziness, and also the wellknown action of smells as links of association.

The surpassing importance of the sense of smell among the lower forms of animal life is obvious and need not be dwelt upon here. I would, however, call to mind that from the point of view of the evolutiouist it is as a means of attracting the various forms of insect life, and transferring by their agency the pollen of one flower to the stigma of another, that the scent of flowers is to be regarded; not in order to please us, else why should we find flowers whose smell resembles carrion? Again, in the lower forms of vertebrate life, nothing is more striking than the inordinate size of the olfactory lobes, in comparison with the rest of the brain. These projecting lobes form the very forefront of the whole nervous system, and although iu the higher forms of life they are completely masked by the cerebral lobes that spread out over them, their position in regard to the central column of the nervous system remains the same. For this reason, in the long series of cerebro-spinal nerves the pair that conveys the sensation of smell lo the brain has the first place, and is known to anatomists as Nerve No. 1.

It would seem, then, that iu man the nerves and brain centres that subserve the sense of smell are poorly developed, in some degree vestigial, structures. It would not be too strong a statement to make that in civilized man, and especially in the Englishman of the present day, this sense remains merely as the vestige of a vestige. Consider the large part played by the sense of smell in the life of a dog. Or take the case of a wild animal. To obtain food for itself, and to avoid being eaten, these are the essential points, and it would fare badly with the hunting or the hunted animal were it to lose anything of the delicacy of its flair. Compare with this the importance in our modern life and the amount of practical advantage which we derive from lia good nose." Not but that cases arise when fatal effects may follow from neglect of the warning which we receive from a bad smell, for it would seem that it is to Lite bad smell which warns us rather than to the pleasant odor which attracts us that we attach most importance.

It may be well to point out here that a large part of what we regard as gustatory pleasures and paius are strictly to be credited to the sense of smell. The aroma of wine and the flavor of Bpices have their source not on the tongue or palate but in the remote chambers and passages that extend far back under the base of the skull, and over the surface of which the olfactory nerves are distributed. So much is this the case that we may claim for our sense of smell nearly all that is most refined and elaborated in the pleasures of the table. Again, it has been said that this sense is intellectually put out of court as a source of information about the external world by the absence of any muscular connections. It is generally held that it is from the combination of our muscular sense with the purely passive elements of sight and touch that we derive our conception of an external world. But these muscular connections are not so completely absent in the case of smell as they are in that of taste. Witness the movements of the nostrils in a dog, or even in some men, in the operation we know as sniffing. Indeed, were we to lake an imaginative flight and suppose ourselves provided with a flexible proboscis, whether artificial or developed in the course of ages, there W no knowing to what intellectual and Bathetic heights we might attain by

means of this sense ; it is quite certain that, with such an advantage, a perfume game far exceeding in complication that of the Japanese might be devised, and so provided a man, were he both blind and deaf, might form many inferences as to the external world. And here I may mention the case of the boy James Mitchell, often quoted in medical works; he was a deaf mute and blind from birth, "but distinguished people by their smell, and by means of it even formed judgments as to their character." This was an intellectual development of our poor sense with a vengeance.

A sense that at the dawn of civilization was a declining one, and since then has tended to become less and less of value, would appear to have little chance of gaining an important position in any branch of human culture. And yet it came about that one characteristic of the exciting cause of odors brought them into prominence in the service of religion, and this prominence has continued in that connection up to the present day. Far back in the history of our race, at any rate long before the dawn of history, the apparently immaterial and, so to speak, ghostly nature of the exciting cause of the sensations of smell led, it would seem, step by step, to the use of incense in the service of the gods. When it began to be felt that the ancestral or other spirit that had to be appeased was hardly of a nature to consume the material food or drink offered to it, to appease its wrath or to gain its favor, an easy step of reasoning suggested that this food or liquid would be more acceptable in the form of smoke or vapor. The gods had become of too spiritual a nature actually to eat the food, but they would still require some form of nourishment, and what could be more suitable to them than the fumes of burnt flesh? This is the conception that is prominent, or at all events survives, in the description of sacrifices in the Iliad, where the thick clouds from the burning thighs of the slaughtered oxen, and from the fat in which they were wrapped, ascend to Olympus and cliecr the assembled gods. It was but a step from this to the burning of fragrant woods and resin to provide a less gross gratification. Moreover, by the consumption in their honor of these precious spices and fragrant gums, obtained at so much cost and trouble, another motive of sacrifice was satisfied.

The Egyptians in the preparation of their mummies had need of a vast store of spices and aromatics. This need no doubt was the origin of their trade with southern Arabia — the land of Punt — a trade which attained to great importance under the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. That, in search of aromatics, there was also a more northern trade route which must in early days have brought them into contact with the Jews, we shall see later on.

The Egyptians in this respect were far in advance of the Greeks of Homer. They burned their incense in a censer, using it iu a similar way to the Buddhists and Christians of later days.

In the papyri of the "Book of the Dead," we see the priest, clad in a panther skin, standing in front of the mummy, pouring, with one hand, a libation from a flask, while in the other he holds a censer of peculiar form, an open cup with a long, horizontal handle, whose further extremity is shaped like a hawk's head. Small pellets of incense are taken from a basin attached to the handle, and adroitly scattered on to the burning embers in the cup. We see also spherical vessels opening horizontally, either for holding or burning the incense. The incense of the Egyptians, according to Plutarch, was composed of fragrant resins, myrrh, and an elaborate compound called Kuphi.

Wc are all familiar with the frequent references to the burning of incense in the Old Testament. In the books of Leviticus and Exodus wc find elaborate laws laid down for the burnt offering. In the light of modern criticism we must regard these laws as descriptive of the ritual of the second temple, or

rather as an ideal cult which the priests of that time were desirous of having the means of carrying out. Iu addition to the large altar for the burnt offering, there should be a smaller one, a cubit square, of shittim wood covered with gold.

Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense ; of each shall there be equal weight. And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy. And thou shalt beat some of it very small. ... It shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. Whoever shall make it like unto that to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

For apothecary the marginal note says we may read perfumer, a connection characteristic of the East generally. These directions are for the service of the smaller altar, but with the sacrifices on the larger altar of burnt offerings incense was also associated. '• Thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon."

The anointing oil was itself a fragrant mixture, compounded of spice, myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil, "an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary." These careful receipts — and there are many more which it would be tedious to quote — arc of interest as throwing light on the doubtless similar perfumes of the Egyptians, and also because they have served as a model for the many ceremonial uses of incense and fragrant oils iu the ritual of the Roman and still more of the Greek Church.

Let me here be allowed to quote a well-known passage from the story of Joseph (Genesis xxxvii. 25), part of a narrative much older than the Levilical law. After Joseph's brethren had cast him into the pit: —

they sat down to eat bread ; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt

Here we have a glimpse of that oldI world trade which continued with little change until the Turkish conquest of Egypt and the maritime discoveries of (lie fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The quotation, at the same time, brings forcibly before us the importance of spices and fragrant resins in that trade. In this case it was from the regions east of the Jordan that the caravan is represented as coming. The most important source, however, of the raw materials for incense has always been the southern coast of Arabia, and the African lauds on the other side of the straits, one or other of which was probably the land known to the Egyptians as Punt.

It is precisely these districts which are the special home of the Amyridactce, the natural order of plants which are characterized by their fragrant resinous and gum-resinous juices. The genus Boswcllia (the name is perhaps not sufficiently exotic) produces the frankincense of the Bible, and the gura-resin known as olibanum. Bal8amodendron, the other important genus of the order, yields myrrh, and from other species the Balm of Gilead and the gum called Bdellium in the Bible are obtained.

In " Paradise Lost" we read how

to them who sail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past

Hozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odors from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest, with such delay
Well pleased they slack their course, and

many a league Cheered with the grateful smell old ocean


Milton then goes on to speak of the fiend Asmodeus, and the passage introduces so curious a point that I must quote it also. Satan, he says, was belter pleased with the odorous sweets of Paradise

Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume

That drove him, though enamoured, from

the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent Prom Media post to Egypt, there fast


In fact, it seems to me that this reference to Asmodeus is a good deal

more germnne to my subject than to Milton's. Every one knows the charming story of Tobit, how he. journeyed to Ecbulane with the angel, and to what use he put the gall-bladder and the liver of the fish, " which leaped out of the river and would have devoured him;" how

he took the ashes of the perfumes, and burnt the heart and the liver of the fish thereon, and made a smoke therewith. The which smell when the evil spirit had smelled, he fled into the uttermost parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him.

I quote this passage to prove that not only may spiritual beings be attracted by pleasant odors, but that they may when desirable be driven away by evil ones.

If the Jews of old gave so much importance to incense in the ritual of their worship, it would seem that the delight in perfumes was equally a feature of their secular life, and we have seen that they were expressly forbidden to use the temple incense in their own houses. In that wonderful poem that we know in our Bible as the Song of Solomon, the air is heavy with perfume. Here the Shulamite sings, "My hands dropped with myrrh and my lingers with sweet smelling myrrh," and Solomon is " perfumed with myrrh and frankincense and all the powders of the merchant." There is constant mention of "spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, witli all the trees of frankincense; myrrh, and aloes, with all the chief spices." "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." This perfumed wind has blown through the ages and inspired the imagery of Miton and of Tennyson.

AVhen the Shulamite says that her fingers dropped with sweet smelling myrrh, we must accept this literally, however opposed to our modern ideas. The liquid scents of the ancients must have been of an oily nature. They are still so in the East, and the semi-liquid attar-of-roses may perhaps give us some idea of what they were like. There are plenty of similar allusions in classical literature, and we must think of the graceful youth perfusus liquidis odoribus whom Horace warns against the fickle charms of Pyrrha, as similarly anointed, doubtless after the bath. These words Milton translates "bedewed with liquid odors," and he elsewhere speaks, classically as usual, of one of the followers of Comus, "dropping odors, dropping wine." The use of alcohol as a solvent for the essential oil of flowers is a comparatively modern practice, and can only have been introduced after the process of distillation had become generally known.

It will be observed that in the above quotations from the Old Testament there is no mention of a movable censer. The incense was burnt upon an altar, and such appears to have been the general practice in classical times. In representations of sacrifice in Roman bas-reliefs, we see an attendant holding a square box (ucerru), from which he transfers the incense to the altar, with some kind of spoon (ligxda). In the Jewish ritual there is constant reference to the spoon of gold to hold fifty shekels of frankincense.

The use of incense in the early Christian Church would appear at first to have met with strong opposition, and in the contradictory statements of the early fathers we see the traces of a warm controversy. That enthusiastic archaeologist, Didron, in his "Annates Archeologiques," has collected a wealth of information bearing on the use of perfumes in the different Christian rituals. Writing as a pious medievalist, he contrasts the pagan abuse of perfumes, ministering to their wildest orgies, with their more spiritual and rctined employment in the service of the Church. Certainly at no time baa the cult of perfumes been carried to a higher point than that reached by the wealthy Romans of the Empire; witness the important part that they play in the anecdotes of feasting and "fast" life which we find scattered through the pages of Apuleius, Petronius, Athenseus, and Luciau. In his '• Banquet"

Atheuasus quotes an authority who recommends "that the legs should be washed with an Egyptian perfume taken from a box of gold, the mouth and the breast with a liquor made from dates, the arms with mint, the eyebrows and hair with majoram, the knees and the neck with thyme." lu these debauches de Vodorat the very vessels from which they drank, brouglit at great expense from Egypt, were manufactured from perfumed clay, and fired in a kiln heated with aromatits. These were tho scented cups from which the courtesans drank a syrup composed of pepper, myrrh, and Egyptian perfume.

It was a natural revolt agaiust such practices that led Tertullian and in later days St. Augustin to inveigh against the use of incense. Moreover, to take a few grains of incense between the linger and thumb, and scatter them on an altar, was often all that was required by the authorities to repel the charge of belonging to the new and despised sect. And yet for all this the use of perfumes crept into the Church, and we fiud the early fathers adopting an apologetic and uncertain tone on the subject; we might almost accuse them of "hedging." Thus Tertullian says :—

It is true we burn no incense. If the Arabian complains of this, the Sabiean will testify that more of his merchandise and more costly is lavished on the burial of Christians than in burning incense to the gods.

Notice here the "good for trade" argument, which still survives, and again the distinction between the perfumes of Arabia (i.e., northern Arabia, in our use of the word) and the spices of Sabsea (Arabia Felix), which latter were probably largely used in the catacombs when embalming the dead. In another place Tertullian says somewhat apologetically :—

If the smell of any place offends me, I burn something of Arabia, but not with the same rite nor with the same appliances with which it is done before idols.1

1 These quotations from the fathers I find In an This quotation points tbe way by which the use of incense crept into the Church ritual, so that by tbe third century the use of the censer was firmly established. Constanline is said to have presented a large thurible weighing thirty pounds to the Lateran Church. Like the pagan thuribulum sometimes used in place of an altar, we must think of Ibis as an open rase, of gold or silver gilt studded with precious stones, standing on tbe ground in front of the altar.

An allegorical interpretation of tbe burning of incense was soon found. Thus an early writer says: "The thurible denotes the body of Christ, in which is fire—to wit, the Holy Spirit — from which proceeds a good odor which every one of the elect wishes to snatch for himself." In an early revisal of the "Ordo Bomanus " it is directed that "tbe thurible be carried about the altar, afterwards taken to tbe nostrils of tbe congregation, that the smoke may be drawn up towards the face by the hands." The frequent mention of incense in the Psalms, and the influence of tbe East generally, must have assisted in promoting its employment, especially in the Byzantine Church. Cbosroes the Sassanian king is said to have presented a golden thurible to the Church of Constantinople.

The use of incense, however, is not an essential in any of the offices or sacraments, at least in the Bom an Church. A much loftier position is held by the chrisma and the other consecrated oils. These in the Western Church are composed of a mixture of olive oil and balm. In the Greek Church the oil is mixed with cassia, myrrh, fragrant woods, and other aroniatics, and much larger quantities are employed. The aroma of these consecrated oils follows the believer from bis birth to his death-bed.

Very striking in the ritual of the Eastern Church is the extravagant use of incense. In Greece and in tbe LeTant so much is this the case that it

article on incense in Smith's " Dictionary of Biblical Antiquities."

produces oppression and headache in those not habituated to such an atmosphere. No doubt there is a purpose in this — the heavy, perfumed air serves as a stimulus to a devotional frame of mind; so, in the orgies of the later Romans, the spiced wines and tbe aromatics helped to promote other and baser passions. This at least is the opinion of the pious Didron. I think, too, that the heavy-eyed, "drugged" look so often noticeable in the papas of Greek convents and -churches may be due in part to the constant exposure to these fumes.

In the mediaeval legends of saints there is constant reference to the scent of lilies and roses, and the fragrant odors and perfumed oils that pour forth from the bodies of saints when their tombs are opened, arc mentioned again and again. The sense of smell is accepted as the least gross of our senses, and the one which is most closely connected with a spiritual condition. The authority of Didron is again my excuse for quoting an Oriental legend which tells how'TaJeule de la Vierge avait concu sainte Anne en respirant dans un jardin le parfum d'une rose."

I have left myself but little space to speak of the wonderful thuribles that survive from mediaeval times, either in the treasuries of cathedrals or in private collections. The finest are unquestionably also the oldest, and date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. One of the most beautiful known to us was bought for a few francs in an old iron shop at Lille, and is now, I think, in an English collection. An angel is seated on the top, and protects the three boys Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, mentioned in Daniel.1 Perhaps the most famous of all thuribles is that preserved at Treves ; the cover is cast to represent a Bomanesque church with gables, towers, and domes. The development of Gothic architecture may indeed be followed in tbe censers

1 A spherical thurible of the twelfth century, smaller but apparently of identical design, is exhibited in the New Gallery. It is said to have been brought from a church at Puvta.

of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, for the designs are generally taken from the churches or shrines of the period. It is curious to find that in Russia the oldest and finest thuribles, as one in the Kremlin and another at Novgorod, are modelled after the fantastic and Oriental lines of the churches of that country.

The monk Theophilus, who wrote in the twelfth century, gives detailed directions for the casting of thuribles by the eire perdue process, and especially for the hammering and chasing of those made of repousse" work. He describes too the naccllae or navettes, in which the church incense is kept, and these nacelle have from this early dale preserved the same shape. The rare examples surviving from mediaeval times are beautiful boat-shaped vessels, generally of silver gilt finely chased, the prow and stem of the boat ending in a swan's neck and head. One of the earliest records of these vessels is in an inventory of Salisbury of the early thirteenth century, which mentions " four thuribles of silver and a silver nacella for the frankincense."

The only ingredient formally acknowledged in the incense of the Roman Church is the gum-resin olibanum, which should constitute at least onehalf of the whole. I understand that the cheaper resins obtained from various species of pine arc now frequently added in smaller or greater quantities.

It is, I think, not generally known that incense continued to be used at times in many of our English churches long after the Reformation. George Herbert says that the country parson, on great festivals, should see that his church is perfumed with incense and strewn with boughs. On the principal holidays it used to be the constant practice at Ely to burn incense on the altar of the cathedral "till Thomas Greene, one of the prebendaries, and now (1779) Dean of Salisbury, a finical man, who is always taking snuff, objected to it under pretence that it made his head ache" (Notes and Queries, September 15, 1883). Please note what is here said about the use of

snuff: li Ceci a tue- cela,." With the introduction of tobacco commences the decline of the importance of perfumes. We may, indeed, include the taking of snuff among the forms of olfactory pleasures—a coarse and debased one, certainly. In that case the jewelled and enamelled snuff-boxes of the last century may be classed as the latest artistic outgrowth of the sense of smell.

Had I space, much might be said of the important place taken by perfumes in the civilization of the Renaissance, and of the scented dandies at the courts of the Valois kings, and of our own Elizabeth; there are frequent satirical references to them in the comedies of Shakespeare. What kinds of scent were then in use may be learnt from a little silver pomander, Italian work of the sixteenth century, in the collection at the New Gallery. These little scent cases were hung by a chain from a lady's girdle, and the oue in question, though no larger than a plum, contains eight compartments, inscribed as follows: "Ambra, moschete, viola, naransi (orange), garofalo, rosa, cedro, gesmine."

Before ending let us turn again to the far East. Among the ritual furniture of the different sects of Buddhism in China and Japan, vessels for incense of every variety of shape are found, and in our collection at the Burlington Fine Arts Club the incense burners held among the bronzes the same pliice of importance that the boxes for holding the incense took among the lacquer. The temple censers are usually uncovered, and stand in front of the altar. Into the accumulated bed of fine while ash are stuck what we irreverently call joss-slicks (manufactured, according to Rein, from the bark of a species of Illicium). It is the smoke from these sticks as they smoulder away that gives the characteristic smell to Buddhist temples, and indeed to Japanese interiors generally, for they are daily burnt before the little house-shrines. The covered incense vases take every variety of form, long-legged cranes ami grotesque, lion-like monsters being per haps the commonest. There are spherical censers— these more for secular use — some suspended by silk cords, others containing within a cup supported on a universal joint, so that Ihey may be rolled about without upsetting the incense. The Japanese had auother means of employing perfume in the Choji-buro or "cloves bath," which must have been in frequent use iu old days, to judge by its common occurrence iu collections of bronze and fayeuce. Cloves or other sources of perfume are heated in water over a small brazier, and the scented vapor escapes into the room. At the same time the Japanese pay comparatively little attention to the scent of flowers. They prefer the faint scent of the blossom of the plum (Primus Mume) to all others, to judge at least from a little poem that may be rendered, '•Seek excellence among men in the Samurai, among flowers iu the cherryblossom, among perfumes in the plumblossom, among objects of desire in the loshima." The last word, by the way, is interpreted in the dictionaries as a woman of about thirty summers, more or less, a ripe age in Japan.

If I have said so little about Bowers as a source of perfume, it is because it would be difficult, on this head, to concentrate the interest on the scent alone to the exclusion of the beauty of the source of the scent. Certainly, were we to search the poetical literature of the present ceutury, we should find constant reference to the scent both of garden and of wild flowers, and hardly an allusion, unless perchance a contemptuous one, to perfumes of artificial origin. It is on the odors of the country, the sea and the mountainside, that we poor town-dwellers love most to dwell.

I have hoped in this slight sketch to make evident the vastly greater importance of the sense of smell to the lower animals than to man, and to man in past ages and remote countries than to the western European of the present day. What remains to us of artificial perfumes survives chiefly in connection with two conservative institutions

which are regarded by some advanced philosophers as relics of a benighted past — the toilette of woman and the ritual of the Church.

Edward Dillon.

Perfumes of Antiquity

Orientalische Basarszene


By J. Ch. Sawer, F.L.S.

PROBABLY the word "perfume" is derived from 'per fumum, " by the aid of smoke," and originated in that most ancient custom of burning resinous substances and aromatic woods in religious ceremonies, thus creating an odoriferous smoke, which was doubtless of advantage in the early form of worship as a disinfectant or deodorizer in counteracting the offensive odours of the burning flesh of the offerings. In other countries where animals were not slaughtered and burned, the incense no doubt acted on the mystical imagination of the worshipper, its overpowering vapours throwing him into a religious ecstasy conducive to the belief in the acceptance of his prayer as he observed the gradual ascent of the smoke from the altar and its dispersion in space.

The incense ordered for the service of the Tabernacle, to be burned in a censer and on the Altar, consisted of Stacte, Onycha, Galbanum and Frankincense in equal parts.

Stacte (o-ra^T^), which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word f)i (nataph), signifies a liquid exudation, or something fluid. Pliny describes it as the natural exudation of the myrrh-tree, flowing without the tree being punctured, and more esteemed than myrrh itself. Theophrastus also mentions two sorts of myrrh, one liquid and one solid.

Onycha is the Hebrew SchecheUth, " odoriferous shell." It is the operculum of a species of Strombut, formerly well known- in Europe under the name of Blatta ISyzantina, found in the Mediterranean and in the Red Sea, from which latter the Israelites no doubt procured it. It is occasionally to be seen at the Custom House of Bombay, where it is imported to burn with incense in the temples, not so much on account of any pleasing odour of its own as to bring out the odour of other perfumes. It is a white transparent shell, resembling in shape the human fingernail ; hence its Greek name owt, onyx, a finger-nail. It is generally believed that the fish inhabiting this shell acquires its peculiar odour by feeding on a species of Indian Nard.

Galbanum .-n;Sn (Chelbenah). The word signifies something unctuous, and evidently applies to a balsam. According to some authorities it is a fine sort of galbanum found on Mount Amomus in Syria, differing entirely from the ordinary galbanum now used in medicine, of which the odour is anything but sweet. But the fashions of this world change, and if we, in our day, find no sweetness in galbanum, saffron, and spikenard, it is no reason why the ancients did not, and no reason why Orientals should not, even now. At the present day the Persians call asafoetida "the food of the gods," the Russians delight in caviare, and the Esquimaux in train oil.

As an example of the preservation of ancient Jewish customs, galbanum still forms one of the ingredients of the incense now used in the Irvingite chapels in London.

Frankincense.—This is largely imported into London under the name of Gum Olibanum, and is used principally in the manufacture of incense for the Roman Catholic and Greek Churches. The Greek word Aifavor, the Latin Olibanum, the Arabic huban, and analogous words in other languages are all derived from the Hebrew hebonah, which signifies milk, in allusion to the sap of the trees, which, before becoming dry by exposure to the air, has the appearance of milk. This drug was imported into China from Arabia as far back as the tenth century, and is still imported to an enormous extent at Shanghai to this day, under the name of Ju-siang, meaning perfume of milk, being always in allusion to the meaning of its Hebrew name hebonah.

Olibanum is derived from several species of Boswellia, indigenous to the hot arid regions of Eastern Afriea, the southern coast of Arabia, and some parts of India.!

The trees vary greatly in height, averaging about twenty feet; their form is very graceful, and when springing from a massive rock on the brink of a precipice their appearance is very picturesque.

The harvest of this drug in Southern Arabia is thus described by Carter:—"During the months of May and

t An enumeration and description of these trees is given by Birdwood in the "Transactions of the Liunamn Society," xxvii., p. 8, and in the "Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society," ii., p. 880.

December longitudinal incisions are made in the bark; the cuticle and adjacent parts then become shining and distended. When the gum first begins to run it is white as milk, and according to its degree of fluidity runs down to the ground or concretes on the tree near to the incision. It is then collected by the families owning the land." According to Capt. Miles (" Jnl. E. Geograph. Soc," xlii., 65), the gum is not collected by the inhabitants of the country, but by the Somalis, who come over in large numbers from the opposite coast and pay a tribute to the Arabs for it, gathering it themselves. He considers the Arabian Luban inferior to the African.

As found in commerce, olibanum varies greatly in quality and appearance. It occurs in the form of rounded fragments of a pale yellow and sometimes reddish colour, also in pale yellow or nearly colourless distinctly pearshaped tears, sometimes stalactiform and slightly agglutinated. It is always of a mealy surface covered with a fine white dust, and even where this is wiped off the tears appear translucent and milky. The fracture is splintery; the odour faintly balsamic; the taste bitter.

These four ingredients would doubtless burn readily if cast on the fire of the altar, and probably burn with a flame, but to develop a smoke the ingredients should burn slowly, or smoulder. If burned in a censer an incense of this composition would very likely go out by melting into a solid lump. In modern incense the difficulty is overcome by adding pulverized charcoal and nitrate of potash, but Moses does not specify any other ingredient.

In the description of the composition of the holy incense given in the Talmud (Book " Cheritoth "), we find the words "borith Carshina," which are usually translated "soap of Carshina," but soap would form a very bad ingredient for incense. Soap was unknown to the Jews, and the word "borith" ("is) is more likely to refer to a natural alkaline production of Judfea, somewhat similar to the Egyptian "natron" or "nitrum," or to the nitrate deposits of Chili. Such an addition to the ingredients would supply the oxygen necessary for combustion.

From Ex. xxx. 2:2-38 we find that the holy anointing oil for the service of the Tabernacle, was composed of myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil. The word myrrh is derived from a Hebrew word, signifying in French amer, and in English bitter. It is also said to be derived from the Arabic word mur. The Greek equivalent is o-pvpva. The ancient Egyptian word Bola or Bal, and the Sanskrit Vola, are yet preserved in the Persian and Indian names Bol, Bola, and Heera-Bol, well-known names of myrrh. Myrrh is a gum-resinous exudation from the stem of the Balsamodendron myrrha, collected in Arabia Felix and Abyssinia, a spiny shrub of which there are at least three distinct species. Good commercial myrrh is in irregular-shaped masses of a reddish-brown colour and slightly translucent. It has a dull irregular fracture and an aromatic and characteristic odour. The Bissa-Bol, which is an inferior quality and much adulterated, was formerly called East India myrrh and is of African origin, but the plant furnishing it is unknown, although it is said by the natives to much resemble the tree yielding the Heera-Bol or true myrrh. The variety from which the ancients principally drew their supplies was probably that of Southern Arabia; this has the same odour as ordinary myrrh, and is not distinguished from it in English commerce by any special denomination.

The " sweet cinnamon," called " kinnamon " in the Old Testament and KtvdfictijMv in the New (Rev. xviii. 18), is Ceylon cinnamon.

The "sweet calamus" (Keneh bosem); the "sweet cane" (Keneh hotteb, Jer. vi. 20), and "calamus"

(Kaneh, Song of Sol. Iv. 14, and Ezek. xxvii. 19) is, according to some authorities the Andropoynn Calamus aromatkus of Royle, which is synonymous with the Andropogon Schienanthus of Linmeus, and known in India as Roosa-grass and in London as "Ginger-grass." This grass grows wild in Central India, in the North-West Provinces, and is abundant everywhere in the Deccan. It has recently been found on the Hurnai Railway route in Baluchistan (Lace in " Jnl. Lin. Soc," xxviii., 296, Aug., 1891). At the present day this grass is largely used for the distillation of its oil, which is employed in the adulteration of otto of rose.

It is, however, very probable that the " sweet calamus" was the Androjwyon laniyer (Desfontaines). This plant has a wide distribution, extending from North Africa, through Arabia and North India to Thibet. It is the

\ a-'/oub; apcv[x.arikOi of Dioscorides and the Herba Scbamanthus and Juncus odoratus of Latin writers on Materia Medica. The Arabic name is Izkhir, which signifies stored-up forage. It has also been called Foenum Camelorum, from its use in dry desert tracts as a forage for camels. When cattle eat much of this grass, the milk becomes 3cented. Lemery, commenting on Pomet (" Hist, des Drogues"), says that "this is a kind of fragrant rush or grass growing plentifully in Arabia Felix, at the foot of Mount Libanus. The stalk is about a foot high, divided into several hard stems, of the size, figure and colour of barley straw, being much smaller towards the top. The leaves are about half a foot long, narrow, rough, pointed, of a pale green colour. The flowers growing on the top are arranged in double order; they are small, hairy, and of a carnation colour .... all the plant, and particularly the flower, is of a strong smell and bitter taste."

The other odoriferous ingredient in the holy anointing oil, Kiddah (Exodus xxx. 24), is translated cassia. In Psalm xlv. 8 it is called Ketzinh, and here, undoubtedly, Cassia liynea is meant. This is the bark of the Cinnamomum Cassia, a forest tree of China. Another variety called Malabar cassia, is exported from Bombay; this is thicker and coarser than that from China. These barks resemble cinnamon in many of their qualities; the smell and taste are nearly the same, but loss sweet and more pungent, but the substance is thicker and the appearance coarser and darker than cinnamon. All these barks contain a very aromatic volatile oil and a resin.

La the holy anointing oil the proportions of these aromatics, as indicated by Moses (Ex. xxx. 22-38), are 500 shekels of myrrh, 250 of sweet cinnamon, 250 of sweet .calamus, and 500 of cassia; to these were to be

I added 1 hin of olive oil. Although we here have the formula of this compound, the mode of making it is not described, and it is difficult to conceive how 1 hin of oil, which is about 9| pints, could hold in solution so much

I solid matter, the total weight of which, 1500 shekels, is equal to about 47 lbs. Such an amalgam would onlyproduce a very thick paste, and the oil was evidently intended to be liquid, as it was not only ordered to be used for anointing the altars and utensils of the Tabernacle, but was commanded to be used for consecrating the High

I Priest, by pouring it on to his head in such abundance as

j to run down his beard and impregnate the skirts of his garments (Psalm exxxiii. 2). Probably the odoriferous properties were in some way separated from the ligneous matter before mixing with the olive oil.

Several other aromatic substances used in the early ages have been the theme of modern investigation and dispute. The substances were sometimes made up in the form of ointments, which were lavishly used by the rich,

! not only in their toilet but also as a mark of distinction bestowed on guests. Aromatics were likewise burned during their entertainments, and perfumes in a dry form were used to impart a sweet odour to their garments (perfumes which were probably necessary, as they did not eat with forks, and soap was yet undiscovered). Odoriferous substances were used for preserving the bodies of the dead; myrrh and alo?s wood were in this mixture, which was very likely an unguent. The Spikenard ointment is said to have been of many ingredients; the word nard is derived from the Tamul word nar, which is used in India to designate many odoriferous substances, such as ndrtum pillu, Indian verveine; ndrum panel, jasmine; ndrta manum, wild orange, kc.

The "Nardinum" which was so very fashionable in Rome, both as an oil and as a pommade, was made from the blossoms of the Indian and Arabian nard-grass (according to Briker's opinion and researches). This would seem to refer to the Andropogon lanvjer above mentioned, and not to Nard ,stachi/s Jatamansi, as generally believed. The flowers of this latter are white and odourless, the rank perfume being only developed in the root.

As is the case generally in hot climates, oil was used by the Jews for anointing the body after the bath, and giving to the skin and hair a smooth and comely appearance before an entertainment (Ruth iii. 8, Prov. xxvii. 9, 16, Cant. i. 8, iv. 10). Strabo says the inhabitants of Mesopotamia use oil of sesame, also castor oil. At Egyptian entertainments it was usual for a slave to anoint the head of each guest as he took his place, castor oil being sometimes used; Egyptian paintings represent this custom. The Greek and Roman usage will be found mentioned frequently by Homer, Horace and Pliny. Athena?us speaks of the extravagance of Antiochm Epiphanes in the matter of ointments for guests (Wilkinson, "Ancient Egypt," 78).

Creech, in his annotations on Lucretius (Lib. IV. 1128), says: "Moreover they arrived at length to an excess of curiosity in regard to their ointments that was indeed wonderful; for Athena?us (Lib. XV. cap. II.) reports that 'they grew so nice as to require several sorts of ointments for one single unction, viz., Egyptian for the feet and thighs, Phoenician for the cheeks and breasts, Sisymbrian for the arms, Amaratine for the eye-brows and hair, and Serpylline for the neckband knees.'" But above all the rest, we may observe that the ancients made use of one sort of oil or ointment of great value and singular excellency ; it was called Oleum Susinum, and made of lilies which in the Phrygian tongue were called
Pliny describes the lily that is called yjivov to be of a ruddy colour (Nat. Hist., lib. XXI. cap. 5). Elsewhere, Pliny (Hist. Nat. XIII. 2) says, "Oleum Susinum was made of oil of Ben " (or Behen, a colourless, tasteless and inodorous oil expressed from the seeds of Morini/a ptertisperma, now naturalized in the West Indies—an oil which never becomes rancid and does not corrode steel, for which reason it is used in modern days by watchmakers as a lubricant), "roses, honey, saffron, cinnamon and myrrh." The amount of perfume used in the palmy days of Rome was enormous; the wealthy patricians were most prodigal in this respect. The perfumers were called Unguentarii, as they principally compounded unguents, and must have done an immense business. In Rome they congregated in a quarter called the " Vicus Thuraricut." The most celebrated perfumer in the time of Martial was a certain individual named Cosmus, whom Martial frequently mentions.

At Capua there were such a number of perfumers, that the principal street of the city, named Seplasia, was almost entirely occupied by them. For the most part, these tradesmen were Greeks, and, as at Athens, their shops (taberna) were the rendezvous of the rich idlers of those days. The perfumed oils and ointments were made in great variety. The basis of the oils was generally the oil of Ben above-mentioned", and that of the unguents was a bleached and partly purified tallow. They were used not only for the hair, but to anoint all parts of the body, especially after the bath, which was quite a complicated process. It was also customary at banquets to honour the guests by pouring costly perfumed oils over their feet. Same of these were simple oils, such as Rhodium, made from roses; Melinum, made from quinces; Metopium, from bitter almonds; Narcissimum, from the narcissus. Perhaps the most fashionable oil after the Oltum Susinum abovementioned was that called Crocinum, made from saffron (Crocus), which communicated both a fine colour and odour to the person; Heliogabalus never bathed without it. Butter is noticed by Pliny as used by the negroes and lower classes of Arabs for anointing their bodies. The natives of India prefer strong perfumes for this purpose, and use oil of santal and oil of patchouli. Savages also grease their bodies, but probably with the idea of being enabled to escape more easily from the grip of an enemy.

In the words of a classical writer on the manners and customs of the Romans, " The bath was a most important event in every-day life . . . Bodily health and cleanliness, although its original object, had long ceased being the only one; for the baths, decorated with prodigal magnific;nce and supplied with all the comforts and conveniences that a voluptuary could desire, had become places of amusement, whither people repaired for pastime and enjoyment."

Comparing the ruins of ancient baths with each other, and with the accounts of Vitruvius and Pliny, we find the essential parts of a Roman bath to be:—I. The Spoliatorium, a place where the clothes were left and consigned to caprarii, which were probably pegs, so called from their likeness to horns. II. The Frigidarium or cold bath room. III. The Tepidarium or tepid bath room. IV. The Caldarium or hot bath room, which was probably connected with the Unctorium or anointing room. The Sudatwn or sweating room was connected with the Caldarium. Those who desired to use the bath through all degrees of temperature, sought first to give their bodies the preparation which was considered necessary, by some sort of light gymnastics, ball-play and the like. The baths were always provided with rooms suitable for this purpose. Persons would then probably enter first the Tepidarium, in order not to be exposed suddenly to the heat of the Caldarium, where they were anointed with oil (Celsus I. 8), and it' is probable that this was the place generally assigned to that operation, although we read of special Unetoria. The anointing with oil took place both before and after the bath; and even after they had already stepped into the bath, they sometimes left it again to be anointed a second time, after which they again betook themselves to the bath. The bathers took the oil with them to the bath (or rather the slave carried it) in phials of alabaster, gold and glass, as well as the striyiles or scrapers, and the lintea, linen cloths, to dry themselves. In the early days people were content with a simple pure oil, but at a later period costly salves as above described were the fashion. No doubt people anointed themselves at other times besides the bath, in order to reek of perfume the whole day through. (Geneca. Ephist. 86.)
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Even the clothes were anointed with aromatic oils (Jur. III. and Martial VIII. 8, 10).

The luxury and magnificence of the Romans were manifested in the construction of their public baths more than in any other building; they were embellished with eheft-d'auvre of sculpture and painting, and the floors were paved with slabs of marble and inlaid with mosaics. It is estimated that 870 baths we?e open every day to the public, and rich people possessed private baths of their own, which were even more sumptuous and extravagant in their method of conduction.

The Romans were not acquainted with the use of regular soap, but they employed an alkali, with which the greasy dirt was dissolved out of their clothes. This alkali, called nitrum, is referred to by Pliny XXXI. 10; but the cheapest solvent was urine, which was mostly used; the clothes were put in this, mixed with water, and then stamped upon with the feet; this process was performed by old people, whilst boys lifted the clothes out of the tubs. The white garments, after being washed, were subjected to the vapour of sulphur—being stretched on a frame, and the sulphur burned beneath.

Poor people in Rome cleansed their bodies with meal of lupins, called lomentum, which, with common meal, is still used in some places for that purpose.

Soap, as we understand the old English word sope (from the Greek sapon and the Latin sapo), was first introduced by the Gauls, who found out a way of making it from goats' tallow and the ashes of beech-wood. This was, no doubt, rather caustic, but it was uncontaminated with colouring matters and the deleterious perfumes put into common soaps of the present day. The soap was made into balls called " Pilse Mattiaca," named alter the town wbere it was manufactured—" Mattiacum" (modernized Marpurg). The French appellation of soap, "savon," seems to be due to a seaport town called Savona, near Genoa, where at a later period, most of the soap for the European market was manufactured.

The Romans, not content with swamping themselves with perfumes at their baths, their toilettes, and their banquets, loved to be surrounded in a perpetual atmosphere of scent, and used, as we use a handkerchief, to dry the perspiration from the forehead, a fine linen cloth called a sudarium, saturated with perfume.

Celebrations of Botanical Scent: Flower Festivals

Celebrations of Botanical Scent: Flower Festivals

Aromatic Plant Species Mentioned in the Holy Qura’n and Ahadith and Their Ethnomedicinal Importance

Aromatic Plant Species Mentioned in the Holy Qura’n and
Ahadith and Their Ethnomedicinal Importance

THE OLFACTORY CONTEXT Smelling the Early Christian World

Smelling the Early Christian World

Plant Oils Chemistry and Structure

Plant Oils Chemistry and Structure

Sun-dials and roses of yesterday By Alice Morse Earle

Sun-dials and roses of yesterday
By Alice Morse Earle


With Sticks and Coils
Silvio A. Bedini

The Shakespeare garden By Esther Singleton

The Shakespeare garden
By Esther Singleton

Tibetan Flowers Encyclopedia

Tibetan Flowers Encyclopedia

Molecular Expressions-The Religon Collection

Molecular Expressions-The Religon Collection

he word "religion" is derived from the Latin term religio, and although the actual meaning is in dispute, some scholars have tried to connect religio with other Latin terms such as relegere (to reread), relinquere (to relinquish), and religare (to relegate, to unite, to bind together). The terms religion and religious appear to be self-explanatory, yet they defy precise definition because they carry entirely different meanings for different people around the world.

The study of religion is difficult and sometimes controversial, but the major religions of the world can be roughly divided using a geographical model based on the premise that geographical regions evolved their religions through common threads.

Three main geographical regions usually are delineated as being India, the Far East (China and Japan), and the Near East. The Indian grouping includes Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, while the Far East religions include Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto. The main religions of the Near East are Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i.

Our religion collection contains photomicrographs of various items that commemorate the great religions around the world. From the Native Americans, who base their religion on a great respect for nature, we have a photomicrograph of tobacco that was used as a gift made to elder tribal members or by visitors. We have a wide spectrum of photos representing Christianity, including the spices Myrrh and Frankincense, and baptismal water.

Representing the religion of Hinduism we have a photomicrograph of incense, used as an offering at the temple. Commemorating Judaism, we have photos of tree fragrances, representing the planting of a tree in Israel to celebrate the life of a deceased person. Islam is represented by a photomicrograph of a ceramic tile, one of the "clean" materials that may be used to construct a mihrab. In addition we have used crystallites derived from the lotus blossom to represent Buddhism, sak� (a rice wine) representing the Shintos, and wine to represent the ancient Greeks and Romans.



Welcome to The site for information about plants native to southern Africa and related topics

Welcome to The site for information about plants native to southern Africa and related topics.

Wildflower Information Organization

Wildflower Information Organization

What Is A Wildflower?

By expert estimates, there are over 20,000 species of flowering plants in North America, belonging to about 300 different families. Those that grow in the wild or on their own, without cultivation, are called wildflowers. Wildflowers indigenous to the continent are called “natives”. Others, which may be quite common, but not indigenous, have been introduced from some other part of the world and are referred to as “naturalized.” Both types share one common distinction: They are equipped to grow on their own in nature.

Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview

Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial,
Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties –
an Overview

Flowers and Plants Science Images Online library of photographs and coloured scanning electron micrographs of flowers and plants.

Foods Herbs and Spices Science Images
Online library of coloured scanning electron micrographs of foods, herbs and spices.

Flower and Plants Science Images
Online library of photographs and coloured scanning electron micrographs of flowers and plants.

Pharmacographia Indica ... By William Dymock, J. H. Warden, David Hooper

Pharmacographia Indica ...
By William Dymock, J. H. Warden, David Hooper

Arkive-Images of Life on Earth

Arkive-Images of Life on Earth

The most familiar members of the plant kingdom are the mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. With the exception of parasitic species such as the world’s biggest flower Rafflesia arnoldii, nearly all plants use chlorophyll to obtain energy through the process of photosynthesis. Without plants, which provide food and oxygen, life on earth would be almost non-existent. Whereas plants dominate the land, algae are most common in freshwater and marine environments. Habitat loss, invasive species, over-exploitation, pollution, disease and climate change are the greatest threats to the world’s plants and algae.

Explore ARKive for videos and images of endangered plants and algae, and learn about plant and algae conservation, biology and more in our species fact-files.

Hawaaian Ethnobotanical online Database

Hawaaian Ethnobotanical Plant online Database

Gums, resins and latexes of plant origin

Gums, resins and latexes of plant origin

Gums, resins and latexes are employed in a wide range of food and pharmaceutical products and in several other technical applications. They form an important group of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) and are the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry. These products, particularly gums, enter into world trade in a significant way and this is indicative of the potential of NWFPs for value addition at various stages from harvesting of raw materials to the end-uses.

This publication deals with important gums, resins and latexes following a standard format, covering description and uses, world supply and demand levels, plant sources, collection and primary processing, value-added processing, other uses and developmental potential.

This document was prepared by J.J.W. Coppen of the UK/ODA Natural Resources Institute, who is an authority on the subject. Formatting and proofreading of it were ably done by Elisa Rubini. Its preparation and publication was guided and supervised by C. Chandrasekharan, Chief, Non-Wood Products and Energy Branch. I am grateful to them for their contributions.

Some of these products presently suffer competition from synthetic products. There is, however, clear evidence of re-emergence of awareness and interest in these natural products and it is expected that this publication can accelerate the process.

Karl-Hermann Schmincke
Forest Products Division

The Language of flowers : an alphabet of floral emblems

The Language of flowers : an alphabet of floral emblems

Title: Nature Mysticism Author: J. Edward Mercer

Title: Nature Mysticism Author: J. Edward Mercer

Trees in prose and poetry; - Stone, Gertrude Lincoln,

Trees in prose and poetry; - Stone, Gertrude Lincoln,

Gifting Trees

Gifting Trees
A small initiative of/for true nature lovers. It is created with the idea that small things count and can have a big impact..on People, on Environment & on Nature!

'Gifting Trees...' is dedicated to plant native trees, and thereby; creating natural habitats for birds & insects to thrive in urban societies, improving the Environment and creating livable conditions for our generations to come.

Ancient Spice Trade

Ancient Spice Trade

Parfum de Chypre

Parfum de Chypre

Perfumery in Ancient India

Perfumery in Ancient India

Flowers in Ancient Literature

Flowers in Ancient Literature

Ancient literature in India is replete with names of various flowers. Most of these flowers are referred to by names which are not in common use today. One frequently comes across flower names like Kund कुंद, padam पदम, kumud कुमुद, neelkamal नीलकमल. Surely, one would like to know what these flowers are, as we know them today. The purpose of this section is to throw some light on this.

Beautiful wild flowers of America: From original water-color drawings By Isaac Sprague,

Beautiful wild flowers of America: From original water-color drawings By Isaac Sprague,

The plants of the Bible By John Hutton Balfour

The plants of the Bible By John Hutton Balfour

Incense of sandalwood - Zamin Ki Dost

Incense of sandalwood - Zamin Ki Dost

The sacred tree: or, The tree in religion and myth By Mrs. J. H. Philpot

The sacred tree: or, The tree in religion and myth
By Mrs. J. H. Philpot

Traditional Herbal and Plant Knowledge, Identifications

Traditional Herbal and Plant Knowledge, Identifications

Herbs used mostly by Anishinaabeg people; Indian names may be individual to the person describing and furnishing plant specimens. Different names were given to different parts of the plant, and to its different uses in food or medicine sometimes. Botannical names are current international standard.

Citrus Pages

Welcome to Citrus Pages!

This is a comprehensively illustrated citrus website with
descriptions and uses of over 400 varieties of citrus.

A practical treatise on the manufacture of perfumery- Carl Deite, William Theodore Brannt

A practical treatise on the manufacture of perfumery- Carl Deite, William Theodore Brannt

Perfumery and kindred arts. A comprehensive treatise on perfumery - Cristiani, R. S. (Richard S.)

Perfumery and kindred arts. A comprehensive treatise on perfumery - Cristiani, R. S. (Richard S.)

Spirit of the Trees

Spirit of the Trees

Spirit of Trees
Welcome to Spirit of Trees, a resource for therapists, educators, environmentalists, storytellers and tree lovers! You will find here an abundance of resources, in particular a varied collection of multicultural folktales and myths.

This website was originally conceived of as an educational resource for the DC Memorial Tree Groves Project, a Washington, DC-based national memorial to the victims of 9/11. But the project has grown beyond its original intention and is now offered as an independent resource for a world-wide community of tree-lovers of all ages.

About Spirit of Trees
Many tree-related online resources focus on the scientific aspects of trees or describe simple tree-planting procedures. Spirit of Trees offers a complementary approach, one that highlights the symbolic and aesthetic dimensions of trees. You will find, in particular, an extensive collection of multicultural folktales from contemporary storytellers, with links to more tales on the web. When told with feeling, these have the power to foster a heart felt connection to trees, one that taps deep into the human imagination to inspire hope, wonder and compassion for the living earth.

There is also a selection of poetry, plus other sections for lesson plans, for scholarly essays, and for national and international tree organizations � and more.

Browse and enjoy!
Cristy West
Editor and Program Coordinator

Alone with myself
The trees bend
to carress me
The shade hugs
my heart.

--Candy Polgar

Traditional Herbal and Plant Knowledge, Identifications/Native American Knowledge of the Natural World

Traditional Herbal and Plant Knowledge, Identifications/Native American Knowledge of the Natural World

Take a Journey to the Origins of Flavor-McCormick Spice Field Reports

Take a Journey to the Origins of Flavor-McCormick Spice Field Reports

Accompany Al Goetze, McCormick's Chief Spice Buyer as he journeys to extoci destingations to ensure you get the best flavors



Boswellia papyrifera is one of the most important multipurpose tree species in Central and eastern Africa. It is a drought-resistant species that continues to grow in marginal lands, produce incense, flower and grow leaves even in harsh and unpredictable biophysical conditions. The species is better known for its non-timber forest product, frankincense. Frankincense has been used for ritual and church ceremonies, traditional medicines, pharmaceutical, perfumery, adhesive, painting, food and other industries all over the world. In addition to this, the species has other numerous environmental, socio-economical, traditional and industrial benefits. However, recent reports indicate that the species is declining at an alarming rate and needs priority in conservation. In this paper the importance of B. papyrifera in general and its non-timber product, frankincense, in particular are described. The history and the contemporary use and trade of frankincense from B. papyrifera are reviewed. Techniques of harvesting, grading and sorting of frankincense are discussed. Finally, issues and concerns related to the population decline of B. papyrifera are highlighted.-FAO

Non-wood forest products of Bhutan-The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Non-wood forest products of Bhutan-The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

For centuries, the people of Bhutan have lived in harmony with nature in the far reaches of the eastern Himalayas. The Kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the most forested countries in the world, and harbours an astounding diversity of plants and animals. The country's environment has benefitted significantly from deep-rooted Buddhist ethics and a long history of conservation leadership.

The deep reverence the Bhutanese people have for their natural environment exists in spite of, or more likely because of, their extreme dependence on it. The forests of Bhutan, in particular, provide critical materials for the daily subsistence of most Bhutanese families. The Bhutanese make considerable use of wood for houses, shingles, tools, fences, and numerous other items, as well as for cooking and heating. But it is the extensive use of non-wood forest products by the Bhutanese that is especially striking.

Non-wood forest products touch nearly every aspect of the lives of a Bhutanese. The country's forests provide food, fodder, medicine, oils, resins, fibers, dyes, and raw materials for baskets, traditional paper, houses, brooms, mats and numerous other items.

Until recently, most non-wood forest products were used locally by Bhutanese people. Increasingly, however, these products are attracting the interest of outside buyers and consumers in far-away countries. This interest presents both opportunities and risks for Bhutan - opportunities include cash income for the rural poor, revenues for the government for developing the country, and increased investment in rural infrastructure and processing centers; risks include potential over-exploitation of natural resources, inequitable distribution of benefits, and shortages of raw materials that might other wise be used for traditional and local needs.

This publication, prepared by the Forestry Services Division of the Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture, highlights the extensive use and potential of non-wood forest products in Bhutan. It should serve as a useful introduction for all foresters, biologists, and rural development workers interested in Bhutan's complex and bountiful non-wood forest resources and products.

A.Z.M. Obaidullah Khan
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO



Executive Summary of FOA
Questions Addressed

The feasibility of extracting individual components from nutmeg and marketing these components is reported in this document. Within this context, an analysis was conducted of the trend in nutmeg production and trade in Grenada along with the importance of this crop as a source of income to the populace. A thorough scientific investigation of the individual compounds found in nutmeg and the viability of extracting these compounds was also covered. Finally, an economic evaluation is discussed in terms of cost of production, marketing and revenue outlook of extracting these components, and recommendations are made based on the findings.

Summary of Findings

Nutmeg production continues to play a pivotal role as a source of income, employment and revenue for Grenada. However, the recent decline in the nutmeg trading price on the international market has seriously affected the economy of the country.

Upon examination of diversifying the uses of nutmeg, one of its components, trimyristin, was seen as a potential marketable product. Trimyristin is a fat, and it comprises approximately 40% by weight of the nutmeg seed. A by-product of trimyristin is myristic acid, and this carboxylic acid is used commercially in the soap and cosmetic industry.

Another possible marketable product is nutmeg oil. Nutmeg oil, which is the essential or volatile oil of nutmeg, is approximately 12% by weight of the nutmeg seed. A steam distillation plant is under construction in Grenada to obtain the nutmeg oil. However, once the nutmeg oil is removed by the steam distillation, if nothing is done with the remaining components of the nutmeg, then 88% of the nutmeg seed is discarded. Most importantly, the trimyristin which is a potentially marketable product, will be lost. Trimyristin can be sold as any other fat or oil to be used as a source for making fatty acids, fatty alcohols, or glycerol which are used for the soap, cosmetic and oleochemical industries. Moreover, the equipment used to extract trimyristin from nutmeg can also be used to extract other products such as coconut oil from copra. Thus, the marketing potential of trimyristin demands that a pilot study be conducted on its extraction from nutmeg to evaluate the possible commercial production of this fat.