When did people start using perfumes?
Perfume, that scent that we cannot live without, is the product of one of the largest and oldest industries in the world today. Surely you enjoy your favorite fragrances every day, grateful that there is such a thing as a wonderful balm for the soul.
But where does this balm come from and how long has it been in the world are questions that we will be happy to answer for you here.
The first information about perfume dates back to 7000 BC. Perfume production began in Mesopotamia, Egypt and India, where the fragrances were mainly used for the gods, for the dead or as a means in medicine.
Today's word “perfume” comes from those times and comes from the Latin word “fumum”, which can best be translated as “through the smoke”. At that time it would be thought that the fragrance goes up to heaven and serves to praise the gods.
Development of perfuming
During the golden age of the pharaoh Hatshepsut (reign: 1479 to 1458 BC) the concept of the living body developed and people began to see the fragrant substances not only as a means of honoring the gods or the dead, but also these for use on the skin. Although only the upper class in Egypt had the privilege to use the beautiful fragrances, the lower classes also enjoyed the fragrances - as a means of approaching the gods by inhaling floral and herbal essences. And so the perfume was only a sign of the wealth of the upper classes in Egyptian society.
That was the beginning of perfuming. Different fragrance blends were made for different occasions. The aesthetic image of the living body was an important step in motivating the manufacturing process of cosmetics and perfumes. For example, the bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin today is an expression of this idea of the aesthetic living body and the idea of inner and outer harmony, which were the main ideas at that time. These are just ideas that have become an integral part of Egyptian culture.
As an important figure at this time, Cleopatra (reign: 51 BC to 30 BC) also understood the importance of perfume and thus used it as a means of transforming herself into a magical aura and enchanting people.
The Egyptians made many mixtures. A famous mixture from Egypt is the so-called Kyphi, a composition of many beautiful scents such as frankincense, sytrax, ambar, myrrh, galganz, oud, sandalwood, rose petals, etc. This variety shows us that the trade in raw materials for the production of the perfume is very great was successful and some raw materials even came from far away parts of the world.
The art of perfuming was then spread around the world (Mediterranean, Asia and Africa) thanks to the well-known seafaring people of the Phoenicians. So later the Arabs and the Romans took over the manufacturing process of Kyphi.
In India, where many wonderful raw materials for the manufacture of perfume come from, they were initially used as medicinal products in medicine. Later, Kamasutra was a guide not only for love life, but also known as an instruction on how to best handle aromatic essences and how to extract them.
Middle Ages and the beginning of perfumery in Europe
What we know most about perfume and perfume production in Europe today comes from the Middle Ages. At this time, the art of perfume was also brought to Europe. During the Crusades in the 11th and 12th centuries, knowledge of various herbs and plants and of the manufacturing process was brought to Europe by the Arabs.
So it was only in the 15th century, much later after the Arabs, that Europe managed to manufacture and sell essential oils. At this time, the world explorers Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus brought new raw materials with them from all over the world.
In Europe, just like in Egypt, perfume developed as a symbol of wealth. In Versailles, fragrances were used so much that the court of the French king has even been called the “court of perfumes”.
The beginning of perfumery in Europe was officially laid with the arrival of Catherine de Medici at the court of Henry II in 1547.
In 1580 the alchemist Francesko Tombarelli arrived in the French city of Grasse and started making fragrances in his own laboratory. Therefore, Grasse was seen as the founding center of European perfumery.
French revolution and doldrums in perfumery
As an established center of perfumery, France experienced a perfume crisis after the French Revolution (1789 to 1799). At the time, perfume was temporarily frowned upon in society. Napoleon changed that, however, as he popularized perfume again as a fan of Eau de Cologne.
In the 19th century the perfume industry developed from perfumery. Later, after World War II, there were certain custom manufacturing difficulties, which required changes to many things in the industry. Today it is very successful and there are an unbelievable number of suppliers who are simultaneously bringing new perfumes onto the market. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that only a small part of these is of good quality. With this, the perfume has lost a bit of its magic, as the Egyptians and the Indians saw it.
But we can always try to transform ourselves into the desired aura by choosing our perfume and thus experience the Egyptian concept of inner and outer harmony in our everyday life.
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