Since antiquity, musk has been a valued perfume and medicine. Because the musk deer only lives in Central Eurasia, people in other locations had to trade for its musk. For medieval Islamic civilization, musk became the most important of all aromatics. The musk trade thus illuminates the nature of medieval Asian trade and musk's cultural effects on the Islamic world. Scent from the Garden of Paradise: Musk and the Medieval Islamic World examines the history of musk from its origins in Asia to its uses in the medieval Middle East, surveys the Islamic literature on musk, and discusses the roles of musk in perfumery and medicine, as well as the symbolic importance of musk in Islam.
About the Author
Anya H. King, Ph.D. (2007), Indiana University, is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Indiana. She publishes on medieval Islamic trade with Asia.
Table of Contents
PrefaceIntroductionChapter 1: About Musk and Its Terminology Musk and Its Origin Exploitation of Musk Terminology for MuskChapter 2: Commodities of Further Asia in the Islamic World Introduction Central Eurasia China India Southeast Asia Place of Origin, “Brand”, and Rank The Impact of Commodity Knowledge in Adab ConclusionChapter 3: History of Musk and the Musk Trade: From Asia to the Near East Introduction Musk in China Musk in India Musk in Tibet Musk in Central Asia Aromatics in the Persian World Musk and Aromatics in Sasanian Persia The Westward Spread of Musk in Antiquity ConclusionChapter 4: Islamicate Knowledge of Musk and Musk-Producing Lands Arabic Terminology relating to Musk Persian Terminology for Musk Sources of Musk: Middle Eastern Knowledge of the Geography of the Musk Producing Lands and the Origins of Musk Toponyms and Sources The Islamicate Understanding of the Production of Musk ConclusionChapter 5: The Merchant World and the Musk Trade Musk Producers and the Trade Tribute and Royal Gift-Giving Routes and Emporiums Merchants Data on the Commerce in Musk Perfumers and Pharmacists Adulteration and Imitation of Musk ConclusionChapter 6: Musk in Daily Life in the Early Medieval Islamic World Introduction Arabic and Persian Perfumes Incense Unguents Scented Powders Oils and Waters Musk and Men Musk and Women Musk and Medicine: Pharmaceutical Specifications of Musk Pharmaceutical Applications of Musk Musk in Food and Drink ConclusionChapter 7: The Symbolic Importance of Musk in Islamic Culture The Primacy of Musk among Aromatics in Islamic Culture Symbolic Meanings of Musk in Medieval Islamic Culture Musk and Kingship Musk and Islam Musk and the GardenConclusionBibliographyList of IllustrationsIllustration 1. Musk deer. Illustration 2. The musk apparatus. Illustration 3. Musk pods.