We received the high patronage of Unesco for the research, the exhibition and the development project Les Routes du Parfum.
At the end the XIX-th century, perfume became a fashion accessory and is today the floret of the luxury industry.
But few people remember of its history and its first function. This look toward the past is important today, because it corresponds to a rescue movement of the planet, of the heritage and to a protective movement of the old cultures.
LES ROUTES DU PARFUM
Follow the discovery of the most sensual story, the story of perfume, our heritage. The history of perfume is also the history of man. Each culture has its own heritage, each region of the world has its own way to use perfumes. At the origin, in the antiquity, perfume has an essentially religious significance: to “perfume” comes from “perfumare” (old Italian), “fumare” to “smoke” (Latin), because of the smelling smokes obtained by combustion of woods or rinds. The smelling plants in combustion excrete these natural perfumes and their fragrant smoke goes up skywards. Adding there the prayer and the gestural, thus the perfume permits to men to enter in contact with the gods, and also to breathe these offerings to purify and to take care of themselves. Old document reading proves us that man made use of perfumes and managed to mix them since the extreme antiquity. In sacred texts, it is told very often of beneficial properties of balms, ointments and of fragrant oils. Since the beginning of the perfumery history, man created a multitude of objects destined to contain the most secret compositions. He preciously preserves the rarest essence mingling formulas.
All nations are more or less interested in perfumes and have used it as a remedy. The historic and anthropological research that follows would not have been possible without Creezy Courtoy's extensive life research.
For any reproduction, please use the following formulation: "Research and texts: Copyright Creezy Courtoy"
Queen Hatshepsut, wife of the Pharaoh Tuthmosis would promote the trade of perfumes and spices between the Far East and her kingdom while striving to make it beneficial to everyone.
Queen Hatshepsut organized the most extraordinary expedition ever. To solve the financial problems of the country, she came up with the idea of reducing import expenses on incense by buying frankincense trees from the Queen of Punt...
INDIA, A BIG LAND OF PERFUME
The ‘attar’ (Hindi word for perfume) is a necessary element, present in the everyday life of Indians.
Women spend long hours in scented baths before oiling their bodies with rosewood or tuberose and set their hair with jasmine while their faces are perfumed with flower nectars. The Art of the perfumer is recognised at the same level as science and medicine...
VENICE, Master of the Trails
The East transmits to the West its knowledges, its spices, its fragrances
and the Crusaders bring back the Art of Perfumery
The Italians attempted to manufacture glass in the city of Venice but Dodges and Senators are so afraid of fires that they instruct the transfer of Venetian glassware to a mandatory distance to dwellings. This unachievable restriction due to the smallness and narrowness of the sites gave the monopoly to artisans of Murano...
Perfume is sold in pharmacies, It had its own glassmaking manufacture,
chemical laboratory, skincare, cosmetics and perfume laboratory, flower fields and
medicinal herbs plantations.
The "Staro-Nikolskaya" pharmacy is the biggest in the world
It was located in a four-storey building in Nikolskaya street.
In 1913, its owner, Vladimir Verrein and the V.K.Verrein Society owned more than 200 perfume titles, Eau de Cologne, toilet objects and cosmetics...
A great deal of frescos from the islands of the Aegean Sea dating back to circa 3000 years BC reveal a peaceful, educated population, displaying wisdom and tolerance.
The Minoans knew hygiene and their bathrooms had showers, clay bath and hot water. Their body is rubbed with perfumed oils...
KHMER KINGDOM AFTER INDIANISM
In search of spices as cinnamon, pepper, cloves, resins and raw materials used in the art of perfumery for the romanised Middle East, the Indian merchants conveyed not only art and religions but also the love of flowers, odours and perfumes.
At the first century, Indian's sailors and traders found counters which become hearths of refined civilisation...
Spain and EL CORDOBA CALIPHATE
Medieval Spain is a fascinating country where Berbers, Muslims, Jews and Catholics live together, spreading their perfumes into Europe. The Cordoba Caliphate encouraged the growth of perfume flowers and the Cordoba Library become as important as the Alexandria one. Apart from Venice, Spain is one of the main supply channel for perfumery products in the 15th century. With the territories it conquered in America, Peru and Mexico, Spain bring a new source of plants, flowers and spices to Europe. The 16th century is the century of perfumed skins and the aristocratic class differentiates by wearing gloves...
GERMANY AND MIRACULOUS WATERS
During the Antiquity, Cologne, the rich military city of the North, owned one of the most renowned glassware factory and was the only one able to compete with the Alexandrians and Syrians.
The glassmaking industry started to establish itself in the North of Gallia as early as the 1st century. An inventory of the workshops was made in the Meuse Valley and in Belgium but mostly in the Rhineland regions. Napoleon is bathing in Cologne Water, he is wearing it constantly.
A bottle is created especially, at its request, the “roller” bottle, flat bottle in the back, to slip into his boot...
Romans love simple perfumes. These products are sold in the ‘’incense district’’ called Victus Thuraricus in Roma.
Rose and nard are the most esteemed perfumes and the scented gorse (acorus calamus) is the most common. Under the reign of Emperor Nero, Dioscoride a pharmacist and doctor advocates several remedies to prevent and cure diseases.
Each odour is particular : rosemary is used to strengthen the mind while amber and musk excite…
CHINA, A Perfume is a MEDICINE
Shi-Che is called The Goddess of Perfume.
The Chinese not only burn aromatic woods and resins in front of their altars but they also introduce perfumes in the culinary art and medicine.
« The Book of Medecine » contains hundreds of perfume preparations used for medicinal purposes.
"A perfume is always a medicine’’ Chinese proverb
Houses are perfumed with pine, sandalwood,
cedarwood or thuya preventing diseases...
PORTUGAL AND COLONIAL EMPIRES
The commercial importance of the Trails will trigger the rivalry between States during centuries by encouraging competition, the discovery of new maritime routes, new worlds and new wealths.
These major discoveries lead to the creation of powerful colonial empires.
Spain and Portugal followed by England and France establish trading posts in India, Asia, America, Caribbean, showcasing names that still make us dream today : Borneo, Calcutta, Goa, Java, Macau, Macassar, Madagascar, Malabar, Malacca, Sumatra, Zanzibar… The fate of the maritime power of Venice and of that of the Ottomans is sealed.
Lisbon takes over Venice and becomes the most important market of the continent for spices and perfumes...
Florentine princess Catherine de Medicis, arrived in France in 1553. She brought in her luggage creams, pomades, her Beauty secrets, the fashion for bottles that are worn in a pocket or placed onto a dressing-table as well as the fashion of gloves, ultimate symbol of Italian supremacy. Perfumes have the favour at all Courts, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV and Napoléon under the influence of Anne d'Autriche, la Marquise de Pompadour ou Josephine.
Versailles is important but also Grasse...
Ancient Middle East
‘Mesopotamia’ literally means ‘’the country between the two rivers’’.
Located between Tiger and Euphrates, this region currently corresponds to Irak, Syria, Lebanon, Southern Turkey, Palestine and Israel. Circa 4000 BC, the cuneiform writing carved onto the clay tablets reveals formulas and perfumes used by these Ancient populations since the middle of the third millennium. Lebanese cedar, cypress and myrtle are the three most used perfumes...
JAPAN, RESPECT AND ABSOLUTE VENERATION
At the Imperial court of Heian, fragrances are most demanded. And even if traditionally in Japan, perfume (kaori) is not applied directly to the body, it accompanies every day move. Aromas or spices bags (nioi-bukooro) perfume the kimonos when they are not placed in musk scented drawers (jyako); aromatic fumigations perfume the screens and perfume burners sanitise the temples and private houses.
Perfumed pommades (nioi-abra) are also used. Perfumes are considered as one of the favorite pastime of the Court people. This Art of Perfumery has conventions and experts...
In 1492, Christopher Colombus, a Genovese explorer, discovered a new world; he believed he had reached India so called the inhabitant of the New World
Doctors are called "Perfumero". They used aromatic plants and flowers and believed that the ‘pneuma’ breathing had healing powers.
The Perfumero was very sensitive to body odours, caused by nutrition, emotions and imbalances that create diseases.
With the use of perfumes, the perfumero could heal but also shift the magnetic field and the aura of the person. For the Indian, olfaction is synonymous with transition, change from a state to another i.e. a state of healing...
UNITED KINGDOM, TRIBUTE TO QUEEN VICTORIA
The Victorian era established very strict usage rules for perfumes. One could wear it but in a controlled manner. Only a few drops on a handkerchief was allowed but not on a person. Victorian women needed to be clean and perfume was considered too sensual to be worn on the body.
Queen Victoria launched the fashion of patchouli scented shawls. This Victorian perfume fashion soon goes beyond borders and because of her close relationship with Louis-Philippe, King of France...