Specimen of Incense and Incense Burner from Ancient Past till Nowadays
“Few things burn more faster or sooner and are lighter than the ashes of incense”
(Walter Savage Landor)
Incense Forms, Types and Uses among Diverse Cultures:
We all want peace and harmony in our homes especially during these troubled times when the world is engulfed by the horrors of the epidemic of COVID-19. We can create an environment or aura with a unique fragrance like that of a five-star spa in our very homes through the use of Incense sticks, cones, coils, and powder. The unique fragrances like sandalwood rose and sage will immediately take you into an outer-worldly space filled with harmony, love, and peace.
“Life at the end be like an incense stick being burned away along bringing unique fragrance in the world”
Meaning of Incense:
A unique material made from plants and essential oils that burns to provide a smoky fragrance. Incense is used to provide an ambiance or aroma helpful in aromatherapy, medication, and other uses.
Derived from the word “incendiary” in Latin meaning ‘burn’. In older times the Egyptians used Incense to honour the gods as it was laid in their shrines three times a day. The Roman and Greeks had been using incense to repel evil spirits and demons. Incense is quite popular among spiritual ceremonies, prayers, and offerings in India.
The incense usually falls into two categories as below:
1. Indirect Incense Burning: In the indirect incense burning method, the incense has resin which requires a constant external heat source to keep the material burning. This type of burning incense is typically applied in a contemporary environment.
2. Direct Incense Burning: Indirect incense burning the incense material is lit only once afterward it creates a glowing spark which then burns the rest of the incense slowly and releases scented smoke. Burning type incenses are usually pressed to form a block, cone, or any unique shape and are applied around supporting sticks.
Forms of Direct Incense Burning:
Incense comes in many forms as follows
- Incense Stick
- Cone Incense
- Coil Incense
- Powder Incense
The most popular incenses are the stick and cone incense.
Another more common form of incense is the stick form of incense which is more commonly known and more likely associated with the name of incense. The stick incense has been part of the tradition for many countries like India, Tibet, Japan, and China. Incense sticks usually burn for a small time. Many fragrances of stick incense are available like musk, sandalwood, rose, etc. Stick incense is also available with very little or no scent as well.
Types of Sticks of Incense:
Sticks of Incense are of the following types;
- Bamboo core Incense: Bamboo sticks being one most common types in which the stick core is bamboo around which the incense is wrapped. The fragrance is similar to bamboo.
- Cylinder Stick Incense: Sticks of incense made out of dried incense paste e.g dhoop and simpoi.
- Stick of Joss: Incense sticks similar to bamboo sticks; more popular in China and India for different religious and traditional ceremonies. Indian sticks consist of bamboo whereas Japanese sticks do not support bamboo.
- Dipped by hand Sticks: Masala or bamboo Sticks that are hand-dipped into various perfumed natural or synthetic oils.
- Sticks of Dhoop: Common sticks of Tibet and India that are of various sizes. They are soft in property and easily breakable.
- Agarbatii Incense sticks: Word derived from agarwood consisting of batti (stick) and aloeswood. Stick is made of wood as a core. Agarbatti is commonly used in India.
- Masala Incense Sticks: Popular incense sticks of Southern India consisting of different ingredients consisting of resins, wood, flowers, herbs, oils that are combined together to form a unique paste that is applied to the surface of the stick of bamboo.
- Durbar Incense Sticks: Sticks using a blend of unique solid and liquid ingredients to make a paste that does not dry. Perfumed liquids are used for spicy and sweet aromas.
- Champa Sticks: Sticks made from plumeria and sandalwood. Unique ingredients consisting of magnolia, nagkeshar and halmaddi are used for preparation.
- Simpoi Incense Sticks: Sticks popular in Tibet that are thicker than others and are hand-rolled.
Senko Incense Sticks: Popular stick blend used in Japan which does not contain bamboo or wooden core.
- Fluxo Sticks: Popular stick incense among Indian culture containing rich blend of complex ingredients which creates pungent fragrance.
2. Cone Incense:
Cone-styled incense is one of the quite popular incense in the market. Cones consist of a combination of powders and essential oils which create a unique pungent aroma for the entire room which helps during yoga and meditation sessions.
Cone incense can be used in cone burners, decorative bowls, decorative pottery, etc. Cone-shaped incense can easily be kept in your bookshelf, drawers due to their small size, and they are pretty affordable too.
Cone incense creates a unique sensory experience. Cone incense can be found in unique aromas such as sandalwood, Rose, Wild funnel, Amber, Musk, Sage, Rain, Coconut, Cannabis, and Nag Champa.
Incense can be used to transform your house into a peaceful and relaxing sanctuary to relax after a hard day of work. The usage of cone incense is not as simple as using a candle.
Coils incense is usually made from incense in the shape of spirals. They are similar to stick incense but do not contain any bamboo or wood. Coil incense usually has a longer burning time compared to stick incense. Burning incense coils produce a smoke-containing fragrance.
Incense coils are great for worshipers who want to hang it from the ceiling for their ceremonies. Incense coils are the best choice if you want the interior smelling fresh for a long time.
Incense in the shape of powder. Powder incense is usually ignited in a bowl of charcoal as it burns it gives off a unique aroma.
An incense burner is usually made of stone, porcelain, and wood and is used for burning cone or stick incense. It creates a unique aroma from the perfumed extract of flowers, herbs and natural ingredients and the unique fragrance helps ease our mind. The usage of incense burning is quite old and has been used for healing processes, aromatherapy, and religious ceremonies. Common usage is for meditation and relaxation at home.
There are different shapes, sizes, and types of Incense Burners, most of them are described below:
Types of Incense Burners:
- Burner Abalone Shell: A unique vessel for the usage of smudge sticks and sweet grass. Shells can be used for burning herbs, resins, etc.
- Burner Incense Ash Catcher: A common type of incense burner for bamboo sticks as it has a wooden holder with flat wood curves at one point commonly in the shape of a boat. The bamboo stick is inserted in a small hole. These ash burners are usually made of ceramic, glass, stone.
- Burner Bowl: The bowl burner usually is made of brass or ceramic and adds a very classy appearance. It’s one of the versatile burners of incense.
- Incense Box Burner: Incense burner shaped like that of box or boat and includes hidden storage area underneath. Box burners are usually handcrafted and are available in a variety of finishes and colours.
- Charcoal Incense Burner: Burners are usually made of brass in the shape of a bowl. Tablets of charcoal are used for the burning of incense.
- Powdered Incense Burner: Incense burner for burning powdered incense usually in the shape of ceramic, brass, or stone bowl with ash in bottom. Suitable for burning non-flammable incense.
- Coil Incense Burners: Incense burners are designed for airflow as the coil is burning usually on a prong bed. The Ash bed has the feature of burning incense.
- Hanging Spiral Burners: Incense burners are designed to be suspended in the air as hanging so it has downward spiral motion. These burners are not easy to locate and find and are known to be separately sold. Hanging spiral burners have rod & hook combinations.
- Incense Burner Japanese: The Koro is a cup-style burner used traditionally by the Japanese. These burners are usually made of brass, gold, or ceramic consisting of beautiful patterns engraved on them.
- Clay And Stone Incense Burners: Incense burners of clay and stone are usually available in unique colours, shapes, and sizes. Most of these incense burners have two holes on the side to adjust two different types of incense sticks, usually the bamboo stick incense and the incense of solid type without bamboo. The incense burner holes are not compatible with the use of thicker Indian and Tibetan incense sticks.
Some of the burners can be applied with cones. Using cones when burning, always apply the burn on a resistant heat surface or tile of ceramic.
During the use of these burners along with stick incense, always keep a cleaning tool nearby as an upright pin for cleaning purposes. The sticks burn along the way by opening into the holder. Resin usually builds up and the tiny tool will be needed to remove the unburned area of the incense.
- Smudge Pots & Bowls: The unique bowls are usually designed to handle smouldering bundles. Other bowls are usually used for the burning of resins and herbs using charcoal. Be sure to use a bowl that you desire that is fireproof. The tablet of charcoal used is best put on an inch of some ash or sand along the bottom for insulation of the intense heat from the bowl.
- Cone Incense Burner: Burner that can operate more combinations of incense types. Usually, combination burners are made from different materials including aluminum, wood, ceramic, brass, etc.
Some of the popular examples of Cone Incense Burners nowadays are as follows:
- Backflow Dragon Incense Burner:
- Backflow Little Buddha Incense Burner
- Backflow Ganesha Incense Burner
- Tree Incense Burner with an Antique Buddha
- Waterfall Backflow Little Monk Incense Burner
- Backflow Ceramic Yoga Gir Incense Burner
- Incense burner Double Dragon
Usage Of Incense Burners:
Incense has always been in style through the ages. The co-founder of United Perfumes
Laurent Delafon says; “Incense has always been chic”
Incense Adoption By Luxury Brands:
Incense is often associated with our unique sense of smell. Incense is also based on herbs, dried wood, spices, and resins. Recently Gucci launched its own range of incense sticks. Luxury brands like Fornasetti, Buly 1803, Earl of east, Haeckel’s, UMA, L" object are also coming on board in adopting the Incense trend recently during these troubled times of pandemic.
The earl of East has seen increased sales of incense up to 300 percent over the last two years. Incense has always been popular from the start except in the 1970s when the hippie culture was prevalent. Hippies used incense after the usage of hash.
Incense Usage For Peace And Tranquility:
Ever since the onslaught of the pandemic, people are spending more time at home therefore the demand for fragrances and incense has gone up. Studio director of Na Nin store Isabel Lee has reported online sales to have increased 130 % during last year.
Incense Backed By Science:
A study in the journal of FASEB showed that a unique chemical incensole acetate ingredient of incense can improve mood. Mice who were injected with incensole acetate showed less fear and exhibited reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to mice who were not injected with incensole acetate. Incensole acetate drug is 10 times stronger than valium in reducing anxiety
The main reason incense is so popular is that people perceive it as a better alternative than candles as incense sticks can burn up to 20 minutes or more and create a unique atmosphere. Incense can create a special spiritual setting in the morning to inspire people and motivate them to get through troubled times.