perfumery in asia

Asian cultures have known a multitude of practices of how to become aware of and appreciate the fragrant nature. Characteristically, these various arts have been deeply related with spirituality, education and medical healthcare.


Due to global developments, the biological sources are diminishing, and the earlier sensory skills and knowledge are falling into oblivion. Generally, humanity detaches from nature. Also Asian cultures suffer from the so-called ‘nature-deficit disorder’ which has become a popular term to describe the consequences of modern lifestyles on health. Today’s widely available industrial aromatic products generally reinforce this detachment.


Perfumery has become a pivotal issue to reflect and touch on our and the Earth's roots.


This website aims to draw light to the existence, character, and value of the Asian perfumery heritage. 


In a longer perspective, this website is hoped to initiate and support:



(1) knowledge

of the threefold Asian heritage, by informing about its special facets including specifically Asian achievements, and thereby simultaneously supporting Asian identity.


Beyond Asian issues, the website intends to call for and strengthen:


(2) sensory curiosity

for the wealth of olfactory phenomena in nature, by hinting at the existence of this treasury and suggesting methods of how to connect with it.


(3) therapeutic awareness

for the exceptional potential of natural aromatics, by mentioning health benefits of their selective, sustainable appreciation.


(4) green care

by emphasizing the beauty and value of perfumery on the one side, the flora's frequent threat with extinction and dependence from an intact global ecological equilibrium on the other side.


(5) networking

by asking for comments from users, local producers, health professionals, spiritual masters, and others, and supporting further research on the basis of links, or rather gaps of knowledge.


get involved

learning about the heritage

Get an idea of the Asian heritage. Let pictures inspire you.

connecting with nature

Try out methods of how to become aware of your own natural fragrant surrounding. Trust your senses.

getting in touch

Learn about the history of this project, and join it by giving feedback or any other kind of support.

re-/definition of key terms

(in favor of an intercultural approach to olfactory phenomena outside of the Western world and an unambiguous scholarly discussion)



  • 'perfume'

    = all kinds of materials that are valued specifically for the capacity of creating an olfactory phenomenon with them.

In Asia e.g.: incense, aromatic wood artefacts, fresh flowers, distillates, pastes, and powders.

  • 'perfumery'

    = all matters and activities dedicated to the possibility of creating an olfactory experience.

In Asia e.g.: the offering of fragrant flowers to divine entities, the appreciation of fragrances in special rituals specifically for this purpose, or simply the production and use of incense.

  • 'fragrance'

    = any kind of olfactory phenomenon which is intentionally created and perceived by awareness.



key publications







Dr. phil. Dinah Jung



c/o Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies
Prof. Dr. Harald Fuess
Karl-Jaspers-Centre, University of Heidelberg
Vossstr. 2
D - 69115 Heidelberg
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text and photos: © dr. phil. dinah jung, 2002–2020. all rights reserved.