Tuesday, 16 August 2016

An extract from the River of lost footsteps ...

As I slowly make my way through the narrative of Burmese history from ancient times written by Thant Myint-U, I am astonished as to the Portuguese who made history in and within Burma's history. Amongst the ones whose importance may have been minor, such as the travel writer Barbosa I have come across a rather interesting piece of information regarding the influence of pheromones, apparently already acknowledged by the Kings of Arakan, which I herewith transcribe.

"According to the Portuguese merchant and travel writer Duarte Barbosa, who visited in 1610 twelve of the most attractive young women from every part of the realm were sent to the Palace on a regular basis, not in the first instance to meet the king but to stand fully dressed in the heat, on a "terrace in the sun". They would then take off their clothes, and the damp cloth they had been wearing (with their names scribbled on them) would be sent to his Majesty to sniff. Only those who passed the test would be invited into the Royal apartments. The rest would be profered to lesser lords."


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