Rinchen Detse says: “Always smile when you’re gathering medicinal plants from the mountains. When you smile, the plants will smile back.”
With his bare hands, each year Detse creates 3,000 boxes of Tibetan incense over the two months when the climate is most favourable. This is Detse’s craft, as well as his livelihood.
This brings to mind my first visit to Tibet in October, where I stayed at Detse’s home. Later when I was back to the city, the fragrance of Tibetan incense permeated every inch of my clothes. The familiar smell filled every breath I took.
Plants in the mountains grow and follow nature, free from any intervention by humans. Every autumn in October, Detse gathers medicinal plants from his hometown, Ngawa in Sichuan. Every year in May when spring is giving way to summer, the frigid winter in Tibet begins to ease off, which is the best time for gathering medicinal plants.
As with sunrise and sunset, Detse’s incense follows the climate circle in Tibet and greets us once every year.
Three types of handmade Tibetan incense available for selection: