Art & Culture History

History of Perfume

Perfume or fragrance is a strong tool for expressing our individuality, building our image, and engaging with people. Perfumes accompany us into everyday life, raise memories and feelings, and tell us much about ourselves. The perfume history is certainly not new. Overall, the sources of perfume are the ancient Egyptians. They used aromas to worship and to perform religious ceremonies through burning essential oils, resin and ointments.

There were many functions to this practice. First of all, the burning oils and unguents were vital to protect the gods and their generosity. The smells also transmit Messages and prayers to the dead, cleanse the body and perform ceremonies of embalming.

Over time, not only the religious aspects of the fragrance were limited, but they were also included in daily hygiene. There was already extensive commerce in spices, fragrances, and resins in ancient Egypt, which were abundant but also imported from far-off areas such as the Near East, Arabia, and the Indian lands. Fine wood, fragrant resins, myrrh, and incense, composed of several key elements in the perfumes of the time, were brought from these trades.

However, the holy function of the fragrance is not lost in time, and it continues overages with the secular. The Book of Exodus is a precious witness to the use of perfume in the Jewish faith as a sacred tribute. The same worship of the Magi told in the Bible shows the value of giving sacred essences such as incense and myrrh.

Moreover, the perfume was employed as a true cosmetic and used in a religious ceremony to purify the body. With the slow process of maceration and extraction of aromatic plant, wood, and resin essence, nonguents, water, and scented oils were obtained. The scents abandon their holy rituals during the age of old Greeks and begin to accompany common people in their daily lives.

While the rituals and major milestones, such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals, continue to be accompanied, scent increasingly enters the secular arena as well. It is connected to the myth of beauty and body care, and it starts to play a vital part in daily life precisely in this way. The exploitation of new, exotic, and precious material to the East through the spice trade will later make it possible for intense perfume trade to be facilitated over the world, which was then known.

The Romans have brought together the Oriental and Hellenistic legacies and continue to associate scents to the sacred and profane spheres. In Rome, they start to sense the effect of the different cultures and practices, gradually assimilating, thanks to their ongoing conquests and travels. For example, Etruscans seem to take the habit of burning essences in specific receptacles or censers, dancing, and burial ceremonies to disperse the aroma in playful moments The dissemination of perfumes began to accompany daily convivial circumstances and banquets, in particular in the Roman Domus. But even outside of a private context, everybody washed and used scented oils and unguents in the Roman baths.

The use of blown glass containers for perfumes is one of the most notable innovations attributed to the Romans. This substance is odorless and easy to form, making glasses perfectly suitable for the initial cosmetics and perfumed oils. Due to the reciprocal effect between Western conquests and Arab science, fragrance continues to play a major part also in the Oriental civilization. Among Arabs, in particular, scents are commonly used for personal usage, accompanied by rituals for purification or as a refreshing agent. Arabs are also the inventors of the alembic, which spread the old distilling art throughout Europe.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap