Called "fragrant bags" in ancient times, scented sachets are bags usually sewed with cloth or weaved with multicolor silk threads stuffed with aromatic herbs. The sweet-smelling bags were initially used for absorbing sweat, repelling insects and warding off evils.
Back in the Warring States Period, a scented sachet was already an ornament worn on the body. There were lots of lines depicting sachet wearing in Li Sao (The Lament) by the great poet Qu Yuan at that time. In the Han Dynasty, it was a custom that underage boys and girls wore scented sachets. In the Tang and Song Dynasties, scented sachets gradually became something unique to women. Male officials began to wear pouches. Unlike the scented sachets holding aromatic herbs, the pouches were used to hold small objects.
In the Qing Dynasty, a scented sachet also became a love token. A girl would make one by herself and send it to someone she fell in love with. Later, wearing scented sachets became a custom at the Dragon Boat Festival. It is believed to be capable of warding off evils and bring good fortune.
Scented sachets are not only useful, but also ornamental. They come in different shapes and sizes, such as round, oval, guava, bottle gourd and many others. And they are normally adorned with elaborate patterns, with each pattern symbolizing a special meaning. For instance, a double-fish or double-butterfly pattern symbolizes the love between a man and a woman; patterns like lotus or peony flowers symbolize women; pine and crane patterns symbolize longevity and a guava pattern symbolizes lots of children.
An exquisite scented sachet is not just a pure ornament, but more of something that contains cultural and historical richness - an indication of simple and active vitality and a symbol of real folk culture and human nature.