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Sandalwood and CarrionSmell in Indian Religion and Culture$
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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

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Lotus, Fish, and Cows

Lotus, Fish, and Cows

The Smellscape of Traditional South Asia

(p.61) 3 Lotus, Fish, and Cows
Sandalwood and Carrion

James McHugh

Oxford University Press

If the fundamental smells were often thought to be “good smell” and “bad smell,” what are typical examples of these as represented in South Asian texts, and how do these odors and odorants relate to other systems of value and to social hierarchies? This chapter examines a number of sources that describe smells, including typologies of elephants and a text on prognostication through the smell of semen. Taking a number of prominent cases such as the smell of lotus and the smell of earth the chapter discusses the greater religious and cultural implications of some of the most frequently mentioned smells. In introducing many fundamental features of the smell world of Sanskrit texts, this chapter also provides a foundation for much of the material in the remainder of the book.

Keywords:   smell, odor, lotus, elephant, smellscape

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