Faience Amulet of the god Nefertem

Molded faience amulet in the form of Nefertem or Nefertum, he is often defined as the god of perfumes but this association is secondary.

Nefertem was, in fact, first and foremost, the young god of the lotus bud that emerged from the primordial waters, according to the Egyptian myth, and from which the sun was born. He therefore not only identified with the blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) but also with the sun god that emerged from it, and its association with Re is quite common.

Faience Amulet of the god Nefertem
Faience Amulet of the god Nefertem

In the Pyramid Texts it is called “the lotus blossom in front of Re’s nose”, showing how its association with scents started quite early in time. Its headgear is characteristic of him: a lotus flower with two feathers and counterweights for the necklace.

The most highly prized perfumes of the ancient world came from Egypt. The most popular were Susinum (a perfume based on lily, myrrh, cinnamon), Cyprinum (based upon henna, cardamom, cinnamon, myrrh and southernwood) and Mendesian (myrrh and cassia with assorted gums and resins).

The god of perfume, Nefertem or Nefertum, was also a god of healing who was said to have eased the suffering of the aging sun god Re with a bouquet of sacred lotus.

Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Made of Egyptian faience. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin.

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