|Craftsman preparing jinkoh wood for incense.|
Incense has a long history in Japan. At the ancient court, men and women alike scented their kimono, their rooms, and even their writing paper with signature blends of incense that admirers were sure to mention later in their love poems. - Kiyoko Morita, The Book of Incense.(Click on any image to enlarge)
During a 2012 textile study tour one of our fellow participants named Francine, from Switzerland, arranged a special treat for us - a tour of the Kyoto headquarters of the venerable Shoyeido incense company, founded in 1705.
In the video above, the craftsman is chopping and grading pieces of jinkoh wood. This rare and costly material can be burned separately or used in blends.
The Way of Incense, or Koh-Do, is the enjoyment of incense, and is somewhat analogous to the tea ceremony, and to other structured esthetic experiences, such as flower arranging or even wine tasting.
|Incense in many shapes - sticks, cones, coils and fancies.|
|The uniform logo perfectly captures the drift of fragrant smoke.|
|Map with sources of raw materials for incense.|
|From top left, clockwise: Sandalwood logs, ingredients, myrrh, benzoin.|
|Press - incense is compacted in the metal cylinder.|
|Incense sticks extruded onto a wooden board.|
The cake of incense is then put into the extruder, which pushes out spaghetti-like strands of moist incense. The craftsman catches the strands on a wooden board and trims the strands to size.
|Trimming the incense.|
|Incense trimmings fall into the hopper under the extruder.|
|Sticks given final trim.|
|Our guide explains the process.|
|Bundles of incense sticks.|
|Many fragrances and shapes from which to choose.|
|Sticks and round holder.|