"Igiene e Bellezza nell'antico Egitto"
30 April saw the launch, in Sansepolcro, in the halls of Palazzo Bourbon del Monte, headquarters of Aboca Museum, of the exhibition "Hygiene and beauty in Ancient Egypt. The other side of knowledge", organised by Aboca Museum in collaboration with the Egyptian section of the Florence National Archaeological Museum.
The exhibit, with more than seventy pieces dating back to Pharaonic Egypt, amongst which the sarcophagus of the priest Khonsumes (Florence National Archaeological Museum) and the cast of the very famous bust of Nefertiti (held at the Berlin National Archaeological Museum), offers an archaeological and botanical path that is unique in its kind: it is possible, indeed, to appreciate not only valuable testimonies of Ancient Egypt but also to follow the growth of this extraordinary civilisation even in the most intimate and daily aspects, linked to the care for their hygiene and beauty through colours, beauty, freshness, the perfume of plants and drugs known at the time and still useful to man today.
The exhibition - articulated in four sections dedicated to perfumes, skin care, hair and make-up - enables the visitor to gain further understanding of this civilisation, so fascinating from the historical, scientific and socio- anthropological point of view.
The exhibition wants to embrace the "other dimension of knowledge" of the Egyptian people, to discover the aspects that are peculiar to daily life in a context of science, religion and magic, where also hygiene and cosmetics, as a summation of experience through the generations, contributed to reaching the aesthetic perfection to which the Egyptian people aspired to. Thus some private, hidden aspect of Egyptian daily life are brought to the fore in the exhibition - beauty, splendour, refinement, elegance, cleanliness - in a cultural context permeated by science, religion and magic, amalgamated in a complex cognitive corpus, which fascinates to this day for the lofty heights of knowledge that were reached.
"This exhibition, organised in close collaboration with the Egyptian section of the Archaeological Museum of Florence and with some lecturers of the Universities of Pisa and Perugia - explains Valentino Mercati, president of Aboca - aims at the promotion of the very ancient customs of Egyptian people, in which it was already very clear, from that time, the idea of cure of the body, both from a health and from a hygiene and aesthetic perspective". "It was and is fascinating - he continues - to delve into the spirit of a civilisation that belongs to us and from which we have in some way descended. How indeed not to be surprised by the absolute certainty of this people concerning the immortality of the soul that continued to live beside the mortal body in a kind of marvellous, but also mysterious, vital harmony? How not to be surprised when facing rites that come from so far away and that exactly for this reason reaffirm the intact value and the allure of an immanent reality that goes beyond us and that man since his beginnings has linked to the Sun, source of life, but also radiant disk that everybody can relate to?”
Of particular interest, finally, is the reproduction of some oils and ointments of the Ancient Egyptians, tested and developed in Aboca's laboratories, following the ancient recipes passed onto us by the Ebers papyrus, both in the methods of preparation and the ingredients that have been presented in occasion of the exhibition and for sale at Aboca Museum's bookshop.
The exhibition, which will remain open until next 31 October, has also benefited from the collaboration of the Cairo Egyptian Museum of Agriculture and of the Museum of Agriculture of Ancient Egypt, also in Cairo, and of the cultural association Arte-mide.