From mouth fresheners to erotic perfumes: The evolving socio-cultural significance of nutmeg, mace and cloves in South Asia

Thomas J. Zumbroich

Abstract


This enquiry presents facets of the historical geography and cultural history of nutmeg, mace and cloves, as a chapter in the broader and hitherto neglected discourse of the role of aromatics in the pursuit of a sophisticated and sensuous life style in South Asia. I will be exploring here how and when a select group of fragrant plant products arrived on the Indian subcontinent from the far reaches of the Indo-Malay archipelago, eventually to be sought after in the royal courts and celebrated by Sanskrit poets.

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