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Kemet Egyptian

The ancient Egyptian culture, along with those of India, China, Persia, Mesopotamia, etc had highly evolved religious, cultural, social and artistic systems that nurtured the use of aromatics to enhance the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of the people dwelling in those lands. Egyptian perfume bottlesEach of these countries evolved their own special fragrant traditions, the study of which gives profound insight into the world in which they lived and their attitudes towards it.

In the evolution of Egyptian culture four main streams of aromatic traditions evolved that concerned the use of natural botanicals for (1)the worship of their pantheon of gods and goddesses that in some important way embodied qualities that were universal in nature; (2) daily life for both hygienic and personal adornment; (3) the use of the aforesaid for embalming purposes: (4) preparation of medicines. Incense, ointments, unguents, perfumes, pharmaceuticals and embalming compounds all were prepared with a high degree of sophistication by people devoted to the art and craft of perfumery. There is an extensive body of literature which can be referred too through which the interested person can explore various subjects related to the use of natural aromatics in Egyptian life.

For the aspiring perfumer wishing to re-create a perfume that would embody something of the spirit of ancient Egypt one can uncover references to the famous perfumes of the time such as Kyphi, Tiryac, Kupar, Medesium, Metopion, Susinum, Irinum,Cyprinum, Amarcinum, etc. Some of the details of these ancient perfumes can be found in Lise Manniche's book, Sacred luxuries: fragrance and cosmetics in Ancient Egypt. The study of the recipes could serve as a foundation for perfume creation.

Or one might like to venture forth on their own creative path using essential oils, absolutes and co2 extracts derived from plants that were known to be used by the Ancient Egyptians such as blue lotus, white lotus, calamus, henna flower and leaf, myrtle, frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, cassia, spikenard, cardamon, cyperus root, cinnamon bark, dill, iris root, saffron, mint etc. There are many avenues that one can explore in evolving their own vision of what Egypt embodies from ancient into modern times.

This is a path I like to follow myself as it gives a lot of creative scope to initiate new and enticing perfumes. Kemet is the ancient name for Egypt. It means "black earth" and reflects the fertility of the Nile River delta.

read more in the Kemet Egyptian newsletter

(Any reference to folk medicine and medical history iIs provided for cultural and historical interest, not as a recommendation for treatment of disease)