This article originally appeared in Plantings: The Journal of the World Sensorium/Conservancy, Issue 18 In Matthew’s account of the Birth of Jesus, three wise men, drawn by a star, came from the east to find a newborn messiah. They brought gifts for the child befitting a king: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These exalted gifts have…
Shezmu: The Demon-God of Egyptian Perfume
If you are a fan of fragrance history, you may be familiar with the Egyptian god Nefertem. He is the personification of the Cosmic Lotus in the Egyptian creation myth. Nefertem is the protector of dawn and patron of Egypt’s beloved blue lotuses. Nefertem rises from the river at daybreak each morning with his flowers…
More Spooktacular Fragrance Pairings for Halloween
Spooky season has descended upon us once again and with it the age-old quest for the perfect Halloween costume. Personally, I’ve been oscillating between Dolly Parton and Pugsley Addams this year. That’s right boys, get you a girl who can pull off both Dolly and Pugsley! All this mulling has led me back to one…
Ephemera Guide: Poisoners, Flower Factories, & Malheureux
Hello my lovelies, November is here and my mind turns to thinking about what I’m thankful for. For me, the inspiration of amazing artist has been something that has kept me going and creating through a year that has been politically grim, to say the least. We need people out there creating beautiful things even…
The Death/Scent Reading List
Over the last year I have had several requests for more information and deeper reads on subjects brought up on the blog. So after banging around my shelves a bit, here is the Death/Scent reading list. Some of them are staples of both olfactive and death literature, others are weird and wonderful deep cuts. This…
The Perfumed Mummy
Now we reach the intersection of material culture, belief systems, and death with the physical preparation of the body, which used many aromatic ingredients. The creation of the archetypical Egyptian mummy was a complex evolution that embraced the olfactive elements of the putrid and the divine.
Disasters, Mysteries, and Perfume: Unearthing the Philistines
In this post, we explore what we know and what we don’t about Philistine culture, thier death practices and how perfume may have played a role in their cosmology.
The Fragrance of the Soul: Olfaction and Death in Ancient Egyptian Religion
As a society, we have an anosmic view of history. We don’t think about how things smelt or what olfaction meant to people in the past because olfaction is not a primary consideration in the present. When we do think of the scents of the past, it is with modern snobbishness and assurance that all…
Mummy Powder Incense?
To the modern Westerner, incense is the friend of the pothead teenager and long-time companion of the hippy. Incense is perhaps the oldest form of human scent manufacturing, however.
Egypt’s Sacred Scent Business
There is no scent culture with more mystery or confusion than that of the ancient Egyptians. Their perfume production wasn’t the oldest in the world nor the most sophisticated, yet the mystique of Egypt drips with fragrance. Perhaps it was because perfume and cosmetics played such a vital role in everyday life.
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