Aboca Museum, housed in a prestigious renaissance building in the heart of Siena's historical centre, develops an itinerary to discover medicinal herbs through the sources of the past: herbal texts and ancient books of pharmaceutical botany, mortars, ceramics and glassware. A great cultural communication project promoted by Aboca, the leader company in Italy in the sector of natural products, the museum allows to rediscover the roots of the relationship between man and Medicinal Plants through a rigorous historical analysis. In this historical research perspective lie the efforts by Aboca Museum to create the exhibition "Hygiene and beauty in Ancient Egypt. The other aspect of knowledge".
Ancient Egypt is today a recurring theme in numerous fields of communication and scientific endeavour, but could not be neglected by Aboca it its efforts to bring back and spread the historical tradition of medicinal plants. The path taken by Aboca Museum touches repeatedly at the level of communication the theme of ancient civilisations, but the exhibition, thanks to the generous loan given by the Egyptian Museum of Florence, has allowed us to create a coherent itinerary of original materials, in depth explanations and "ancient beauty" cosmetic products. The synergy between Aboca Company, the Universities of Pisa and Perugia and the Italian historical artistic heritage has guaranteed the success of an effort that had as its main aim the promotion and recovery of the very ancient customs of the Egyptians in the cure of the body, both from a health and a cosmetic perspective. This theme was very important to ancient Egyptians and it was not devoid of sacred connotations, which permeate their entire mysterious and majestic Civilisation. However, what has been passed on to us on the rituals and uses of this people, appears to us, for certain aspects, of surprising topical importance. Our history has its roots in this very civilisation, and it is fascinating to find ourselves immersed in it in such as detailed and nearly "real" way, even if in a limited context such as that represented by "Hygiene and beauty in ancient Egypt. The other aspect of knowledge". The Mediterranean Sea has been one of the centres of human destiny and us Westerners can possibly venture the hypothesis that between the ankh cross (crux ansata, looped cross), symbol of life and resurrection for Ancient Egyptians, and the "gallows cross", symbol of death of Latin Romans, there is an illuminated bridge represented by the Christian cross. Life - Strength - Health: this the salute-wish, so dense of meaning, found engraved in scrolls or on walls of Egyptian funerary buildings. Nobody can remain indifferent towards the Pyramids, forms of "talking architecture" alluding to solar myths, the primordial tumulus upon which the Solar God manifested itself at the beginning of the world. The symbolism inherent in other constructions or in stones that were to be used for the building of obelisks (always ending with the pyramidion), were called back to the memory of ancient Egyptians with the sole aid of the pyramid shape.
How not to be surprised by the absolute certainty of this people concerning the immortality of the soul, which continued to live beside the mortal body in a kind of marvellous, but also mysterious, vital harmony? From this derived the absolute importance of mummification rites performed in the "house of life", in order to maintain the body in a state of uncorrupted beauty, the "house" inhabited by its immortal soul.
How not to be taken by the allure of the fascinating collection of formulas and prayers of the "Book of the Dead", most accurately translated as the "book to see the light", in which our sensitivity, resting on the culture of ancient biblical principles, is shaken and surprised in reading the 42 confessions, so similar to the principles of current religions, relating to commandments that the deceased denied to have broken?
In summary, Egyptians already believed, for good and for bad, that life might continue in the after-life. It is thus with great respect and deference that we engage with this complex and very ancient funerary rite, regal in its content before even its form, a base upon which one must build the history of the origins of the Egyptian religion, a collection of texts that are likely to be the most ancient that have been passed on to us in the whole history of mankind. Even if the worldview of Ancient Egyptians is apparently very distant from ours, it nevertheless is of value to pursue our efforts of identification with them, to better understand the origin of our culture. It is a bit like if we wanted to use as a symbol of continuity the djed (zed) pillar, immutable axis that connects the Earth with the Sky and enlightens our Conscience, something similar to the pastoral staff of the ancient fathers of Israel, upon which their history was engraved, and was passed onto whom was chosen for the succession, a passage that was made sacred by the rite of anointment, an hygienic-health practice that in the context of the Egyptian people constituted a daily norm. 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? The Sun, indeed, expressed the sense of the divine and found an earthly incarnation in the King, a figure that, as direct expression of the Sun God himself, renewed amongst mortals the splendours of the divinity. But beside the sovereign, as a kind of incarnate God, is the god of nature, Osiris, real protagonist of the Egyptian civilisation, ruler over the Nile Valley. Killed by his brother Seth (the resonance with Cain and Abel is strong), he was resurrected in the apotheosis of immortality. He is the key to understanding the mysteries of ancient Egypt, the evolution of the religion that characterised the very political and economic life in the Nile Valley, circulating towards the Mediterranean sea the fundamental elements of its resounding civilisation, when Europe was still in the stone age. Bulwark against the invasion of eastern peoples, ancient Egypt saved from the desert the "chosen people", as if its historical mission were to defend the birth of the subsequent "Western" civilisation. Historical events such as the migration of Abraham, the life of Moses, grown at the court of an Egyptian princess, the flight to Egypt of Jesus' family to escape the massacre by Herod, link the history of Christianity with that of Ancient Egypt.
Herodotus defined the Egyptian people as "the most scrupulously religious", a religiosity that was also moral and aesthetic norm, and even cure for the body, thereby transcending the particular divinities that were worshipped. What contributed to making the body strong and beautiful also had sacred connotations, and was reflected in the spirit, as Amenemope taught at the end of the second Millennium B. C.: "Make your body strong and happy and cure yourself out of respect for the Lord of the Universe".