Limestone slab with relief depicting women pressing lotus flowers. For the production of perfumes or narcotics. The women at center twist a sack in which the lotus flowers are collected, the juice of which collects in the container below.
The Ancient Egyptians loved beautiful fragrances. They associated them with the gods and recognized their positive effect on health and well being. Perfumes were generally applied as oil-based salves, and there are numerous recipes and depictions of the preparation of perfume in temples all over Egypt.
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, was also a god of healing who was said to have eased the suffering of the aging sun god Ra with a bouquet of sacred lotus.
Late Period, ca. 664-332 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum of Turin. Cat. 1673