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

smiles.

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

bound.

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.