An Ethnography of Fragrance
The perfumery arts in Asia have traditionally been presented as exotic or, in recent decades, mainly ignored. The ethnographic report in hand recalibrates the character and meaning of perfumery in the Islamic world illustrated by the local example of ‘Adan/Laḥj. By retelling the stories which have become associated with specific fragrances there, the author simultaneously introduces the reader to the history and culture of Islam and the southern edge of Yemen. The cultural exchange along the Indian Ocean Rim and within the colonial empires supported the spread and refinement of aromatics. The result is a new and fascinating portrayal and explanation of perfumery in general as well as of its tradition and special features in West Asia up to recent times.