A journey into the fragrance universe of the Tang dynasty. Smell the fragrances the noble men and women of the Tang dynasty immersed themselves in.
In Tang men and women of the upper classes lived in clouds of incense and mists of perfume. The body was perfumed, the bath was scented and the costume was hung with sachets. The home was sweet smelling, the office was fragrant and the temple was redolent of a thousand sweet smelling balms and essences. The ideal and imaginative counterparts of this elegant world were the fairylands, paradises and wonder worlds of folk tale and poetry especially those inspired by Taoism (but Buddhist legend is richly perfumed too). These dreamlands were always revealed as suffused with marvelous odors which were conceived as a kind of sustenance of the soul, and therefore uplifting and purifying in their effects and making for the spiritualization of live and the expansion of the higher faculties.
Incense was breathing supernatural wisdom through the worlds of nature and human affairs.
The “Smelling Tang” collection lets you smell a sequence of fragrances only marked with letters from A to Z and delve into a fragrance universe that could trigger your souls time travel into another epoch. If desired this collection of fragrances from another time can be viewed as a modern day Fragrance Ceremony.
There is a closed envelope with identifiers for each oil, but treat yourself to the experience of the classic fragrances used by the son of heaven, without knowing their names. Only open the envelope when you absolutely cannot suppress your curiosity any longer.
Here is an original poem by Li Ho to dampen your curiosity and to strengthen equanimity (the scene, a young noble man awaiting dawn in his lonely room:
Curling, swirling-the smoke of “Sinks-in-water,”
A crow cries out-the spectacle of a worn night,
A winding pond-the ripples among the lotuses.
The waste-girding white jades are cold.
For more about Tang dynasty arts and customs please see Notes and More Reading: Tang.