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30 May 2009 @ 09:40 am
Nechtan, did you know this? - Samurais' Fragrant Games  
So the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is having a samurai exhibition next month, and they've started sending out little teaser notices about it and talking about it on their blog. One of their samurai facts struck me as exceptionally cool:

Some samurai enjoyed playing a game of fragrances.
Reminiscent of the perfume apparatus described in the French decadent writer Joris-Karl Huysmans in his novel A Rebours (Against the Grain), the incense game often involved a dizzying array of fragrances. Guests would bring their own incense (mixtures of pulverized aromatic woods and animal scents, kneaded with honey and other substances) and the group would try to identify the aromas and decide which it liked best.

The appreciation of fragrance originated in Buddhist ceremonies; transmitted to Japan in the sixth century and thereafter, this aesthetic pursuit became popular in aristocratic social occasions, outside of any religious context.

Shown is an incense game box and implements from the 1700s. Made of lacquered wood with sprinkled metalic powder, silver, bronze, and mica, it includes fire tools, box, braziers, and a tray of mica plates.

Original article (and other fun facts) here.

It's just so random to think of these big tough warrior men sitting around sniffing incense smoke. Kinda funny. ARTIST FRIENDS DRAW A PICTURE OF THIS PLEASE!!! ;_;
Danny Darkosaru_kage on May 30th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but when you consider that the samurai made a practice of burning incense in their helmets so as to present a pleasing aroma to their enemy upon being beheaded by them, the smell of incense was probably the smell of victory.