Mughal perfumes

Francois Quiviger francois at
Mon Jun 16 16:48:49 UTC 1997

Dear Indologist,

I am researching problems related to the cultural history of sensation
accross during the 16th-17th centuries. I recently came accross a very
intriguing passage of the *The commentary of Father Monserrate, S.J. on
his journey to the Court of Akbar* (O.U.P., 1922), an account of the 1580s
Jesuit mission to the court of Akbar. The passage runs as follows: 

`The common report of the King's extraordinary kindness towards the 
priests prevented their meeting him, and they hence began to plan to 
remove their quarters into a house which was actually buildt against the 
palace wall ... [the King] ordered the ointments, perfumes and very 
numerous jars of scented waters to be conveyed out of that house into 
another; for the house (which the priest wanted) was used for the 
manufacturing and storing of ointments and perfumes, whence it was called 
the store-house of perfumes. The priests where reminded of the saying `we 
are Christ's sweet perfume'.' (p. 58).

I suspect that the Jesuits were keen on the house not only for its 
location, but also its perfume.

I would like to know where to look in order to find out whether
such a house was part of the typical anatomy of a Mughal palace and 
above all which types of perfumes were kept and for which use. 

With many thanks in advance.

Francois Quiviger
Warburg Institute
University of London

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