By Constan Classen
Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have consistently been linked to magic, therapeutic and sexual strength. but what's skilled as aromatic varies dramatically from one tradition to the opposite and from one epoch to the next.
</b><b>Aroma uncovers the key historical past of smells: from the perfumed banquets of old Greece to "the top blueberry taste ever made", from the candy "odor of sanctity" to the newest in clothier fragrances. A trip of discovery that occurs within the body spray potions of the Pacific in addition to Andean aromatherapies, </b><b>Aroma maps the "smellscapes" of other cultures and explores the jobs that odors have performed all through heritage. alongside the way in which, the authors open our senses to the strong cultural meaings of smells. Odors, they convey, tell energy family members among the sexes, among periods and ethnic groups--the sultry femme fatale, the "sweaty operating class", the physique smell of "the foreigner" are cultural stereotypes made strikingly real.
With </b><b>Aroma Constance Classen, David Howes and Anthony Synnott invite us to stick to the odor of cultures current and previous and to find a universe criss-crossed through the smell trails of the folk, animals and crops that inhabit it. them, unite humans or divide them, empower or disempower.
The e-book breaks the "olfactory silence" of modernity by way of delivering the 1st finished exploration of the cultural function of odors in Western history--from antiquity to the present--and in a large choice of non-Western societies. Its issues variety from the medieval proposal of the "odor of sanctity" to the aromatherapies of South the USA, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity within the glossy West to the position of scent in postmodernity.
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Extra resources for Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell
How offensive is your smell! ’151 Embalming, mummifying and censing the corpse were means of preventing this offensive process of decay and replacing the foul odour of death with the sweet scent of immortality. Incense was thought by the Egyptians to provide the deceased with a scent similar to that of the gods, who were, in fact, believed to sweat incense. ’154 Incense therefore both made the deceased acceptable to the gods and provided the means of reaching their domain. The ancient Greeks and Romans were familiar with the Egyptian custom of embalming, but considered it a foreign The aromas of antiquity 43 practice and only occasionally made use of it themselves.
Another instance is during fasts. Fasting was widely practised in the ancient world, both as a health measure and as a religious rite, and the malodorous breath which resulted from it was a fairly common phenomenon. 86 Aristotle was himself intrigued by the phenomenon. 87 Other body odours also came in for their share of criticism by the ancients. The odour of stale perspiration, for example, was often described as similar to the smell of a goat. 89 32 In search of lost scents The ancients employed a variety of techniques to prevent and disguise the body odours described above.
125 Men, on the other hand, were linked with the sun, considered productive of sweet scents. From this perspective, the tradition of perfuming brides in the ancient world could be understood in part as a kind of cultural processing whereby naturally foul, disruptive women were symbolically turned into sweet, obedient helpmates. Olfactory symbolism, thus, was used very effectively to pass value judgements on different groups of people in antiquity. Given the strong emotional and physical reactions of pleasure or disgust which smells inspire, such an olfactory classificatory system would have been a potent aid to maintaining different classes in their ‘proper’ place in the social order.