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During the 14th century Shogunate, a samurai warrior might perfume his helmet and armor with incense to achieve an aura of invincibility (as well as to make a noble gesture to whomever might take his head in battle).

It wasn't until the Muromachi Era during the 15th and 16th century that incense appreciation (kōdō) spread to the upper and middle classes of Japanese society.

Incense was burnt to counteract or obscure malodorous products of human habitation, but was widely perceived to also deter malevolent demons and appease the gods with its pleasant aroma.

Resin balls were found in many prehistoric Egyptian tombs in El Mahasna, furnishing tangible archaeological substantiation to the prominence of incense and related compounds within Egyptian antiquity.

For example, sage and cedar were used by the indigenous peoples of North America.