Home >> Cyclopedia Of India, Volume 1 >> China to Columba >> Civet


malay, perfume, zabad and civets

CIVET, Castoreum.

Zabad, . . . . ARAB. De-des, Jabat, . . MALAY. Ashbutcbegan, . ;, Castoreo, . . . PORT.

.Tavad DIT/CH. Babuwaja struga, Rus.

Eivergeil, . . Dtrr. Ghenda-malay-alu Civette, . . FR. beeyum, . . . SAME.

Zibetb, Bibergeil, GER. Alg,alia, . . . SP. Gond-badustar, . HIND. • KastUri, Munai, . TAm.

Castora . kr. Rase, Kusturi, . MALAY.

The civet perfumes of commerce are obtained from two sources. One of the civets is a concrete substance obtained from two small bags in the preputial follicles of the beaver, Castor fiber, of both sexes. This is the commercial civet castor of N. America, and it is imported into India for medicinal purposes. The civet cats (Viverra), a genus Of carnivorous animals, approach nearest in their form and habits to the fox and the cat. But the distinctive character of the civets con sists in an opening near the tail, leading into a double cavity of considerable size, furnished with glands for the secretion of .this odorous substance. When the secretion is in excess, the animal frees itself from it by a contractile movement, which causes the civet to ooze from the bag. This is carefully collected, and sold (not without adultera tion with butter or oil to increase its weight) at a very h igh price. In Malay and Javanese this perfume is known by the names of rase and dedes, but the Sanskrit kasturi and the Arabic zabad, corrupted jabad, are. also used as synonyms ; and doubtless

the Dakhani javad, Malay jabad, English civet, French civette, and German zibeth are all from the Arabic zabad. In the Eastern Archipelago. two spccies—Viverra rasse and V. zibetha—are kept in a half domesticated state for the purpose of yielding it. The first is a native of Java, and the 'last of the other large eastern islands, where the natives of .rank are partial to the use of this perfume,—a not generally aoceptable one to Europeans. .A.variety of this is an. inferior sort of musk-bag procured from V. zibetha, found in many parts of Lower Hindustan, and called in Tamil Pullughoo poonay, and in Telugu Poong hoo pilli. The article is chiefly used by the people as a perfume, and in the preparation of certain liniments. These anitnals are carefully kept and tended in North Africa for the sake of the perfume. They are also common in South America and in the forests of Japa,n. Civet con tains free ammonia, resin, fat, and extractiform matter, and a volatile oil, to which its odoriferous properties are due. It is imported into Britain from the Brazils and from Guinea. When genuine, it is worth from 30 to 40 shillings an ounce.— Crawford, Dic. p. 100 ; Ain.% ; O'Sh.; Eng.' Cyc. See Viverra.