Incense Making -- Part
Mixing, Kneading, Extruding, Straightening, and Drying the Incense
incense ingredient is carefully measured and then mixed
together in the mixing container. Once they are completely
mixed they are put through a sieve to remove impurities
and sifted for uniformity. The powder should be very fine
for the incense to blend, knead, extrude, and dry properly.
You can do the same by using a flour sifter after you mix
your ingredients. Makko is also added to the other ingredients
for proper burning and binding. At least 10% makko should
be used, and depending on the other ingredients, more makko
maybe required for proper combustion.
powder is put in a machine to knead it into a uniform past
called "Tama." Water is added to make the dry powder
into tama.For making
incense at home you can use a medium or large porcelain
mortar and pestle. Be sure to add a little water at a time
and knead the tama until it is consistent.
step is extruding the incense sticks in much the same way
as pasta is extruded. Baieido uses a hydraulic extruder
in Japan. It requires considerable pressure to push the
tama through the extruder. When making incense at home
you can either form the tama into cones at this point,
or you can roll the dough flat and cut in thin strips.
Then follow the same procedures in the rest of this demonstration.
you see here is the extrusion of incense paste (tama) into
These strands are captured on a board and cut to a fixed
length. Next the incense sticks (senko) will be separated
from sticking to the board and then straightened.
The next step is to cut the incense sticks to various lengths
according to their uses.
the incense sticks (senko) are cut to the proper length
they are placed on drying trays and placed in racks to
dry. It takes many days to dry the incense properly, and
during the process the incense sticks are adjusted with
a board to remove the space between the half dry incense,
and make certain the sticks remain straight.
the incense sticks are bound together in bundles to prevent
can see, Japanese Style incense is quite an art. Every
part of the process requires careful attention and skill.
There are ways to shortcut the process, but this is the
method that produces the finest incense in the world!
thanks to Baieido Ltd. and the Sakai Small Business Promotion
Association for information and photos used in this presentation.
For more information
on Japanese Incense please visit the Japanese-Incense.com website.
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7 - 8
-- David Oller 2000 - 2002
David, thank you for
the generous giving of your expertise in Japanese incense.
David Oller is the
North American distributor for Baieido Japanese incense. He has also researched
and studied incense history, Buddhist incense traditions, and the Japanese incense
ceremony for many years, both in the United States and Japan.