It has remained for centuries at the edge of the known world, for all europeans the far East has always represented a mysterious place, source of wonder of every kind: from the aromas to the flowers, to the silks and the most precious commodities.
In the Middle Ages, all the knowledge that was available in Europe about Cathai, today's China, was founded on the memories of Marco Polo. His book spoke of a civilization full of treasures, rich with products sought after by western merchants such as aromas and spices. The book was copied by hand for two centuries and since 1477 was printed in many languages and legend tells that Christopher Columbus departed in search of a new route to reach these fabulous places.
The history of the strong relationship between fragrance, aromas, flowers and oriental culture reaches us through myths and legends and poetry.
According to a Chinese motto, the most beautiful girls in China have very perfumed skin. For this reason it was custom to give daughters, from the age of two or three years, aromatic drinks, in the hope that they would grow beautiful and perfumed.
The three great beauties of China were Xiang Fei, Yang Kuei-fei and Hsi Shih. As well as their extraordinary beauty, these women were famous for the rich and delicate perfume of their skin, because "skin that emanates a pleasant odour" is very appreciated in China. The formula for the "beauty potion" is described in the ancient book "One thousand gold Remedies": and is made of oil extracted from the dried leaves of Patchouli.
An ancient Chinese fable settles the mystical virtues of the fragrance of Telosma cordata (Chinese violet): "There was once a group of warriors who besieged an enemy castle. At twilight the air was filled with a sweet perfume that appeased the aggressive feelings of the warriors. The following morning the warriors abandoned the castle and retreated".
This dessert perfume was the natural fragrance of Telosma cordata.
Japan offers a wide variety of fragrances: the perfume of cherry flowers that fall in spring, or those of the woods, the aroma of incense near the Buddhist temples (koh in Japanese) protagonist of Koh-do. Without forgetting the perfume of green tea, the most diffused drink in the country. Sweet and bitter at the same time, this infusion represents a real institution in Japan, the tea ceremony.
Great expanses of camellias are to be found in many parks: with the arrival of spring they bloom and their sweet and fresh perfume fills the air. Pure air, clear water and good mature rice. These are the factors that influence the beauty of a woman according to the discipline of Zen.
The canons of Japanese beauty have not changed through the centuries: tradition requires a pale and slender female figure, with long silky hair, refined and with perfect knowledge of the ikebana art of flowers.
Under their lotus skin Japanese women hide the most intimate beauty, a precious dowry to be protected and slowly revealed, in a sensual game of seduction.
In her "fable of Genji" Lady Kaoru emanates a celestial perfume. When the Japanese writer Yasushi Inoue went to Kashgar and asked the most elderly inhabitants of the village news about Xiang Fei, the reply was that "his bodily aroma was the stupendous perfume of the flower of Saso" (the perfumed olive).