the desire the fragrant object creates…

Holiday Reading – Part 2 of 3

Thanks and appreciation to the following authors whose research, writings and communications for Part 1 & Part 2 of A Series of Sandalwood Dreams I enjoyed immensely…

For Perfumistas I recommend James McHugh’s book Sandalwood and Carrion as being the most accessible and the most interesting in direct relation to perfume and culture. As well as sandalwood there are fragrant flowers in this book. One of these flowers is mentioned in the Mahabharata*, the fragrance of which James describes as so diffusive that when the wind carries the scent across the land it inspires a quest. He describes the motivation for the quest as follows…

More than the diffusiveness of the perfume of this flower, what is emphasized is the desire the fragrant object creates, not an erotic desire, but a desire to possess the object to permit the experience of the perfume.

James McHugh
Sandalwood and Carrion

Does that desire sound familiar to you Perfumistas?

The Perfumed Chamber – references

The Gandakutri in Jeta Grove near Sssss.

The Gandakutri / The Perfumed Chamber in Jeta Grove.
To read about The Perfumed Chamber click here.


Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture
James McHugh
Oxford University Press
Published: September 18, 2012 The Buddha's House

The identifying mark of a hut as the Buddha’s dwelling is not only visual but also olfactory.

The Buddha’s House
Kazi K. Ashraf
RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics
No. 53/54 (Spring – Autumn, 2008), pp. 225-243
Published by: The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Article Stable URL

History of Religions“Gandhakuṭī”: The Perfumed Chamber of the Buddha
John S. Strong
History of Religions
Vol. 16, No. 4, The Mythic Imagination (May, 1977), pp. 390-406
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Article Stable URL

Divine Stories DivyavadanaDivine Stories: Divyavadana, Part 1: Divyavadana v. 1 (Classics of Indian Buddhism)
Andy Rotman
Wisdom Publications
Published: February 8, 2013

Glorious Deed of Purna The FragrantMan.comThe Glorious Deeds of Pūrṇa: A Translation and Study of the Pūrṇāvadāna
Joel Tatelman
Motilal Banarsidass Publisher
Published: January 01, 2001

  • महाभारतम्, The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana.

Further Reading
A Series of Sandalwood Dreams
Basenotes – Part 1 – Myths and Legends
Basenotes – Part 2 – The Perfumed Chamber
Basenotes – Part 3 – Planting Santalum album in Australia
Basenotes – Part 4 – Harvesting September 2013
Basenotes – Part 5 – Processing Sandalwood Logs
Basenotes – Part 6 – Distillation
Basenotes – Part 7 – What does it smell like?
Basenotes – Part 8 – Sandalwood Oil – Uses and Markets

2 responses to “the desire the fragrant object creates…

  1. Hello Jordan,
    Thank you for this great reading list! Right now I’m on my second read of the Avatamsaka sutra. Lots of references to scent and perfume here. Your list should make excellent complimentary reading. I think I’ll start with Sandalwood and Carrion.

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