Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Sandalwood and CarrionSmell in Indian Religion and Culture$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

James McHugh

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916306.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 June 2020

The Toilette of the Gods

The Toilette of the Gods

Chapter:
(p.218) 10 The Toilette of the Gods
Source:
Sandalwood and Carrion
Author(s):

James McHugh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916306.003.0010

Building on the wide-ranging study of smell, perfumes, and aromatics in the previous chapters, this chapter examines the question of why people offered these materials to the gods. A passage from the Mahābhārata provides a very clear answer to the question “Why do we give flowers and incense to the gods?” After a close reading of this text, the chapter presents two later sources. Here it appears that the aromatic practices and olfactory sensibilities of the gods changed over time, from simple incense made of Indian myrrh to far more complex perfumes made of exotic aromatics. Although adornment is shared between the “sacred” and “profane” worlds, nevertheless there are important differences between the olfactory tastes and sensory capacities of the gods and of humans, such that one can justifiably talk of a religious olfactory aesthetics.

Keywords:   incense, perfume, ritual theory, sacred, gift

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .