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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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Merchants, Expertise, and Profit

(p.180) 8 Sandalwood
Sandalwood and Carrion

James McHugh

Oxford University Press

Sandalwood is arguably as important a raw material to South Asian religions and civilization as jade is to China, or porphyry was to the Roman empire at certain times. This chapter provides a comprehensive account of this material. The word “sandalwood” and terms for it in Sanskrit in fact refer to a large number of woods valued as much for their cooling properties and colors as for their fragrance. Taking sandalwood as an example the chapter presents several texts on the evaluation and artifice of aromatics and concludes that faking this costly material was clearly both common and profitable.

Keywords:   sandalwood, Santalum album, wood, trade, fake, artifice

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