“The panther exudes an odour that is pleasing to all other animals, which is why it hunts by staying hidden and attracting them with its scent.”
This aromatic trap is even more extraordinary because the animal lying in ambush and remaining completely still while it does so “has only to breathe.” Unaware of the danger, “the fawns, gazelles and wild goats are attractedto this fragrance by a sort of iunx.”
Used in erotic magic, this is an instrument comprising a small wheel attached to a string that produces a curious whirring sound and thereby exerts a strange fascination. The same word can also refer to a magician who makes love potions. In this way close links were woven between magic, eroticism and the appeal of perfume.
Bold recovery: the dreaded beast, solitary and ferocious, is transformed into a sweet and sociable animal while the painted face of the lascivious and fragrant courtesan, “eater of men”, fades away behind the luminous figure of the Redeemer...
The scented panther crystallizes all the seductive power of scent.
Annick Le Guérer