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Perfume & Flavour Translations
Notes between the historian and perfumer
June - August 2021
Nicolas, help me read this painting that you've selected for our scent translation: Maharana Jagat Singh II celebrating the Festival of Flowers in the Gulab Bari Garden (1750)
- is it summer? The celebration in the rose garden is obvious but what do the overall registers of the painting tell us? I would list rose, saffron, cypress, wine, honey, horse/ hay/ dung, perhaps a fruit (mango), and maybe nutmeg for the perfume. Can you identify the trees?
It is spring; the lowest register shows the Rana processing to the garden, and the upper register sitting in the garden with his nobles, with a group of entertainers at the right. Among the piles of rose garlands there are also poppies and larkspur on the platters on the chabutra. I think rose, cypress, wine, and horse/ hay definitely make sense. Perhaps also charcoal/ash, as associated with the sanyasis/ Shiva that the entertainers are imitating. And there appears to be an actual sadhu sitting near the elephant in the forecourt. The trees appear to be generic leafy trees, probably figs of various sorts (peepal, gular…).
But poppies and larkspurs have no discernable scent.
They possess a narcotic powderiness...