Seeing Scents: Perfumes in ancient India

BIC Live Stream

What are the smells that permeate India? Is it the smell of falling rain? Of Pandanus (ketaki) flowers? How do Indians use perfumes? Is it layered or linear? Sandalwood paste on body, sambrani incense using agarwood on hair, cloves to chew on. In this talk about scents and seeing, Shoba Narayan talks to author and professor, James McHugh about thereligious and cultural role of smell in India throughout the first millennium CE. The conversation touches upon sophisticated arts of perfumery, developed in temples, monasteries, and courts, which resulted in worldwide ocean trade of materials ranging from jasmine to cardamom. They discuss the pleasures of the senses, and the values they evoke.

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