PERFUME IN HISTORY: EGYPT (II)
In the previous entry, I sketched in outline the significance of perfumery in Ancient Egypt. But I felt that the entry was too brief. So I want to elaborate a little more, and perhaps in time develop a very interesting theme, which is to delve into other civilisations that gave an interesting importance to smell.
The human being and his idolatry, Nefertum.
Nefertum emerged from the primeval waters, at the beginning of time. He could be considered a further reflection or personification of Atum, the first god to be worshipped in Lower Egypt. The translation of Nefertum, is Beautiful Atum, motivating this relationship.
Atum represented the sun and Nefertum represented the sunrise. Like the lotus flower, Nefertum was born with each sunrise and passed into the world of the dead with each sunset. He represented the struggle between Chaos and daily Order (Ma’at). Because of the loneliness he felt daily, his tears created mankind.
Atum, was absorbed by Ra (Atum-Ra), and it was then realised that Nefertum was a separate deity from Atum, but intrinsically related to the Sun.
Nefertum was related to the Blue Lotus, a flower with narcotic properties, and according to legend, Nefertum brought a bouquet of blue lotuses to the elder Ra to alleviate his tremendous pain.
It was from that moment that he was described in the Pyramid Texts as “the lotus flower before Ra’s nose”.
Nefertum, the archetype of Aromatherapy, deity of perfumes.
Related to the lotus flower, and to several favourite flowers of the Egyptians, such as the rose and the geranium, he could be described as an aromatherapist of the time.
He was also associated with rebirth, by the newborn sun and by the plants used in mummification. In the Book of the Dead he is mentioned in a passage with the quotation “They will rise like Nefertum from the lotus, up to the nose of Ra, and go out over the horizon every day”.
Depicted as a young man with a lotus on his head, he is also depicted as a lion or a reclining cat. Because of these depictions, he was associated with Maahes, the Lion God who may have been his brother or a further representation of Nefertum. Unlike Nefertum, he was considered the Lord of Massacres and the Bearer of the Knife. Defender of the innocent, and guardian of the sacred places, motivated by the tamed lions that protected the sacred temples.
Nefertum was worshipped, considered a deity related to smell, protection, rebirth and feared. There were statuettes that the inhabitants who worshipped him wore around their necks as a sign of protection, but as I have mentioned, he was also feared. A fear originated from his lion-like appearance, and his kinship to Maahes, and during the Third Intermediate Period several “divine decrees” were proclaimed in order to protect the new-born.
Perfumes for autumn / winter, based on the favourite olfactory notes of Ancient Egypt.
Little by little I will be discovering more interesting facts about History, and mainly about Ancient Egypt, a time in History that amazes me, because in spite of the more than 5000 years that have passed since that era, I see them as very advanced, even more than civilisations that came later. Not only in perfumery, architecture or beliefs, but also in their peculiar way of expressing Art, which has mysteriously lasted several millennia.
A jewel that the human being must take care of, although the destruction caused and the total destruction by the Islamic State erases my smile when I remember the destruction of the Temple of Nabu in Iraq, the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, Hatra and many more.
As always, Theism, brings with it brainless people in every age. No religion is spared. History speaks for itself.
Going a little bit out of History, I want to propose you several options of different brands that touch the Ancient Egypt profile and that you can find in Daring Light. You can always buy some perfume samples beforehand to find out if they are to your liking with the article Choose your samples, a very interesting option, or with 2 ml vials of all of them.
For the olfactory notes used I suggest the following.
Mystery Oud by Daniel Josier
Kaleidoscope by Daniel Josier
Mephisto by Xerjoff
Alexandria II by Xerjoff
Porpora by Tiziana Terenzi
Cassiopea by Tiziana Terenzi
Without further ado, I invite you to an upcoming blog post by Daring Light, niche perfumes Barcelona.
Cheers and Cheers!
Sergio Martínez Anaya