tale of the Perfume

Perfume has an ancient history. It is though that primitive perfumery begun with the burning of gums and resins for incense in religious ceremonies. The word "perfume" is from the Latin per fumum, meaning 'through smoke." An early record of perfume comes from Egypt. When Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb opened, over 3,000 jars of perfume was found that still preserved some of their fragrance after more than 30 centuries.

Perfumed ointments were used by the Hebrews for cosmetics and medicinal purposes, as well as for preparing the dead for burial-no doubt as disinfectants and deodorants. In the Israelite home, greasing the feet of a guest with perfumed oil was considered an act of hospitality.

In the first century, Rome reportedly used about 2,800 tons of frankincense and 550 tons of myrrh a year. In 54 C.E, it is said, Roman Emperor Nero spent the equivalent of $100,000 in order to scent a party. Pipes concelead in his dining room sprayed the guest with mists of perfumed water. From the 7th century onwards, the Chinese made use of fragrances, including perfumed sachet. During the Middle Ages, perfumes were used in the Islamic culture, especially rose scent.

The perfume industry became so well establish in France during the 18th century that the court of Louis XV was called the perfumed court. Scents were applied not only to the skin but also to clothing, gloves, fans, and furniture. Cologne invented in the 18th century, was used in bath water, was mixed with wine, was eaten on a sugar lump as a mouthwash, and was used medicinally as well. In the 19th century, synthetic fragrances were developed. Thus, the first perfumes not suitable for medicinal use began to be marketed. Today, perfumery is indeed a successful industry worldwide.

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