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[Tidbits] Hill Censer

… or… Mountain Censer. Origin… the Han dynasty. These were
incense burners shaped as mountain peaks rising over crested waves in
the form of islands. They represented the abodes of the Chinese
Immortals… hermits of perennial youth… both islands and immortals
dissolving into mist upon the approach of humans. Brigadoon anyone?

It is said that the Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di sent an expedition of
several thousand aristocratic youths to find the islands for it was
there that the drug preventing death grew. Unfortunately… they
never returned. Whether they are dead or still alive and well is
something we mere mortals will never know.

Lest there are thems amongst you wot thinks a censer to be a paltry
gift at best… a trinket of little value to be enjoyed by society’s
fringe members… I am here to tell you you are wrong for it is well
known that the Queen Mother of the West (not to be confused with the
Wicked Witch of the West of Dorothy fame) gave Emperor Qin a censer
depicting one of the isles. And if it’s good enough for Queenie and
Qin… it’s good enough for me.

Some of these censers include in their makeup tigers and hydras and
goats and deer and mythological monsters of all sizes and shapes.
This… as you all know… is a paradigm meant to ensure man
understands the forces which motivate the universe and which source
humankind. This is of course theoretical rather than empirical …
but I know quite a few folks whose biological origins quite clearly
stem from mythical monsters which lurk in the deep abysses of
primeval forests.

As an aside… for those rarest of readers who prefer immortality to
wealth… I have the potion… which I shall impart forthwith. Should
any of you partake and in about 100 to 200 years from now you find
you suddenly have an urge to discuss your good fortune at having read
Tidbits… not to worry. Let me know how to reach you and I’ll be in
touch at a most propitious moment in time.

Cinnabar was believed to be transmutable into gold in a furnace. Now
then… have someone you trust–moi for instance–cast a small vessel
out of this gold. Place into this vessel your favorite food or drink.
Could be Lo Mein… could be Maneschewitz Malaga… and eat or drink
and be merry. Immortality will be yours. Guaranteed.

By the way… as an aside… did you know Parthian incense was/is
known as Gum Benjamin? This is a fact folks. Now how’s that for
quaint? Also… in case you think cannabis is a modern phenomenon…
they used that as incense too back in them thar days.

And of course… I have an image of a censer of outstanding beauty
to show you. It is made of bronze and gold and silver… and it is in
the shape of a sacred mountain. It is inhabited by deities and wild
animals. And if you shrink yourself down in your mind’s eye… you
might envision yourself living among these beings in the depths of
the mountain cavorting if you will with gods and beasties alike. As
a parenthetical aside… by a show of hands… who amongst you like
cavort. Write. Email. Use carrier pigeon or telepathy. I need to
know this.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Current Tidbits… and you will get to view an incense burner of the
highest caliber.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark