Loving Death (Scent the Scene)

In this series, we examine aspects of death and bereavement through art, olfaction, and imaginative thinking. Feel free to follow along at home and leave your take on this scented death meditation below. 

This Week’s Muse

Girls 3, Matsuyama Miyabi, 2016


I have a huge crush on Matsuyama Miyabi, a contemporary artist that mixes the beauty of Edo-era art with modern European gothic sensibilities. This piece is part of her Girls collection and is a play on the name of Japanese ambient rock band World’s End Girlfriend. There is also a reference to Death and the Maiden, a trope we have discussed many times before.

I like the relationship and affection being displayed here. Death and Life have a closeness and a companionship instead of an antagonist relationship of a seduction or carrying off the helpless maiden. If anything our maiden appears the more self-possessed of the two lovers.

Scent the Scene

This is a stark scene, without the help of flowers or background to images to help create an olfactive ambience. We will have to think in more abstract ways on this one.

First I want to weave an olfactive version of  heavy silk brocade reminiscent of Death’s garment. Silk Tree Blossoms and Mimosa for the bright golden threads , Milk Broom for green silk, Sandalwood for the smell of a well-worn garment and Bamboo for a touch of damp atmosphere.

Then the skeleton, the composite that I use to denote bone is a mixture of synthetics of dry Salt, powdery Clay, and a touch of Ash together they give the olfactive allusion of old bleached bone.

Then our lady. I imagen her skin smells of Cashmere so I would use Cashmeran for an amber-like softness but with a touch of Geosmin (fresh rain on black earth) to denote something darker and living underneath. For her gown, I think Caoutchouc (natural rubber) and Indigo Ink blend well to form her inky vestments.

That’s how I smell it, but what about you? How would you scent Death and his girlfriend? Leave your comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the D/S and never miss a scene.