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  1. #1
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    Default Traditional Japanese fragrance

    Hello everyone!

    I'm making a series of traditional Japanese Hiogi (ceremonial court fans made from cypress, originally used in the Heian period), and plan to scent them with authentic fragrances - as may have been used in perfumes and incense of the time.

    I'm thinking of scenting the actual wood for the fan slats using either essential oils, actual wood chips/flowers or a combination of the two, by simply leaving the wood in a sealed box with the ingredients.

    The original fans themselves would have been made from Japanese cypress called Hinoki; which I've heard has a fresh, citrus-like aroma. While the wood itself is impossible to get hold of outside Japan, I have found it as both essential oil and and actual wood shavings (used for scenting bath water).

    A bit of research has given me a list of basic ingredients used in early Japanese temple incense blends. Can anyone suggest combinations from the list which would work well together? Such as sandalwood and benzoin, maybe? Or combinations to avoid, for that matter!

    Agar/Aloeswood
    Sandalwood
    Benzoin
    Camphor
    Patchouli
    Cedar
    Cinnamon
    Lilac


    I'm tempted to also add a touch of jasmine, lotus, or amber if need be, since I'd like the scent to be slightly feminine, not too spicy, heavy or overpowering.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    I live in Japan. If you'd like I can ask around if Hinoki wood is possible to acquire if you'd like.

  3. #3
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    Cool Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    The original fans themselves would have been made from Japanese cypress called Hinoki; which I've heard has a fresh, citrus-like aroma. While the wood itself is impossible to get hold of outside Japan, I have found it as both essential oil and and actual wood shavings
    Leagas you don't show where you live so I cannot be sure of helping you...however Hinoki Cypress is a very common evergreen ornamental in the colder temperate regions of Europe and USA. It comes in all sorts of cultivars, some just shrubs, but some are actually small trees. Older ones occasionally become too big for where they were originally planted and have to be 'rogued out'. At that point the wood is basically trash and would cost nothing. Try contacting yard services in your area, or keep an eye out for some of the larger specimens in your area. It would be a new learning experience if you don't know what Hinoki cypresses look like to go with your new perfume hobby!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    Thank you both for your replies!

    Partario:
    Yes please! That would be incredibly helpful... I'm using veneers in 0.7 or 0.8mm (1/32") for the main slats, and 2.5mm for the end slats/guards (approx. 3/32″). The Postage would need to be to the UK.

    Saintpaulia:
    That's certainly food for thought... I live in Suffolk in the the UK, and have found it very hard to get hold of even Basswood (which I hear is commonly used in the states for model making) cheaply for making these fans. I don't have access to woodcutting tools, so really need the wood to be in pre-cut veneer sheets. I'll certainly have to have a hunt around!

  5. #5
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    Saintpaulia:
    That's certainly food for thought... I live in Suffolk in the the UK, and have found it very hard to get hold of even Basswood (which I hear is commonly used in the states for model making) cheaply for making these fans. I don't have access to woodcutting tools, so really need the wood to be in pre-cut veneer sheets. I'll certainly have to have a hunt around!
    Ah! if that is the case, then, nevermind! I had thought you were a do-it-yourself type and had decided to try making your fans from "really scratch"! Yes from my knowledge of the lumber world, such woods as Basswood (genus Tilia-we call them lindens) and hinoki cypress, would be hard to find. Still there are always that small number of devotees who have found a way to get these woods. Have you done a business search in southern England for specialty, one-of-a-kind wood purveyors? Surely there is some aged hippie who decided to devote his life to finding and now selling exotic woods as lumber?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    You looking for something sort of like this?

    http://mall.fc2.com/item/vietnamhouse/86/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    Something more like this:
    http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/m...tem/d01302-99/

    Or here, one being used by a dancer in Heian period costume:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAg9o21GFMQ

    If actual veneer in hinoki wood is too expensive/un-findable, do you know of anywhere that sells hinoki shavings or chips internationally? In a pinch I could use these as sachets to scent the fans.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Traditional Japanese fragrance

    I'd have to check. I was actually downtown the other day, and I remembered your question, so I was asking some shop people if they had any hinoki fans, but it seems they're rather uncommon most places (at least the places I was shopping). I'll ask someone tomorrow though if they know of any around.

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