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A journey through the aromas of ancient Asia and the Mediterranean.

What did the ancient world smell like? Why were frankincense and myrrh given to the infant Jesus? Why was the sweat of Prophet Muhammad the “sweetest of the perfumes”? Smells and aromas were one of the most precious commodities of the ancient times, and at times exceeded even silver and gold in value. On the other hand, olfactory cues tend to trigger memories in a neurological way that no other sense does.

Join Juan de Lara in this journey from the Incense Routes that crossed India, Petra, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and learn about the importance of smell. Attendants in the room, through samples that will be available, try to recreate the ephemeral smellscapes of the past.

This event is part of Converging Paths 2020, organised by Asia House and The Barakat Trust, and with the support of The Altajir Trust.

About Juan de Lara

Juan de Lara is currently Cultural Programme Manager at Asia House. He has project managed several cultural initiatives including the Pavilion of Humanity at the Venice Biennale 2017 and acted as Finance Manager and Head of Development at Parasol Unit. Juan has a degree in Digital Engineering from CICE, Madrid, and a degree in Architecture and Archaeology of Middle East from SOAS, London, and is currently undertaking a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL. Throughout his career, his research has very much focused in the hierotopy of the ancient world: the deliberate creation of sacred spaces as a special form of human creativity.

This event is part of the series Converging Paths, a year-long series of events curated for 2020, and organised in partnership by Asia House and The Barakat Trust. With this series we aim to engage audiences in challenging cultural misconceptions about the Islamic world, building bridges between communities and highlighting the importance of the arts of that region. We aim to provide wider access, combining digital platforms and curated cultural programmes that appeal to adults and families.

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