Type: zimpu (ritual incense)
Producer: Sumati Padma, Nepal, Tibet
I’m drawn to start like this: something woodsy and dusty, as if just taken out from the pantry cellar… Or perhaps not a cellar, for they tend to be more stony cold and misty dump. More likely, I should have written a rooftop attic pantry. (Now, what do you imagine this incense would smell like, just relying on that imaginary image…).
Another quick association coming to my mind is that of, lo and behold, the ‘Indian souvenir shops’. Yes, I know, a surprise it ain’t! One wants to say, considering the overwhelmingly over-the-top use of usually super-(nasty)-scented incenses that everyone who at least once had the dubious olfactory pleasure of being exposed to, will unquestionably recognise with closed eyes (and nose, unfortunately!). This second connotation is an obvious, social formation – we culturally make that mental association of the generic notion of an ‘incense’ with sandalwood (the most common base for incenses) and a ‘Indian gift shop’, full of ‘hindunoiserie’ à la West (yes, the 18th century ‘chinoiserie’ fad of the times is a linguistic point of reference here).
What it teaches me, is that I (perhaps ‘we’, the ‘Westerners’, whomever these may be?) need to do some mental work to ‘unlearn’ all my hard-coded associations and connotations regarding incenses and Western industry of cheap and fake ‘hindunoiserie’; indeed, I need some of that ‘holy smoke’ to purify and clean my mind and imagination of the cultural images, too skewed and too much still touched by the orientalist mind’s eye…
So what I get from this Tasi Taggi Tibetan Incense is dusted, a little nose-swirling (precisely because of that chalky and cranky air in your nostrils) (sandal) woodsy & patchouliesque whiff; a smell of an abandoned, old house somewhere in the desiccated and arid spot, airless and still, only moved in motion by the rare and remote sound of birds’ wings whipping the air.
Anyway, all this thus far are prompted by the sniffing of the unlit, dry sticks in a batch. (NB. Tasi Taggi comes in white card box with red print, wrapped up in yellow transparent foil). So, what about the burning? Well, there is beauty in the simplicity of the burning smoke of Tasi Taggi.
Because it is one of the ‘base’ ritual incenses, used to condition and prepare the meditative place/space for the practice, this zimpu incense is like a foundation: simple, clear and easy, stable and predictable; exactly all the best qualities of any foundations. Tasi Taggi burns into simple wood fume, perhaps with some black peppery ‘astringent’ facets offering a sharp, spiky drill in the nose, if you get it too close to the incandescent stick.
Ingredients incl.: nagi, saffron, red & white sandalwood, 35+ ingredients
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