In fact, the life of the Egyptian people was centred around two focal points: one was their deeply rooted and structured religious beliefs that gave meaning to life and death, regulated their relationships with the various divinities, including the Pharaoh, and played a special role in the great festivals and celebrations that marked the private life of its inhabitants. The other focal point was the culture’s natural inclination to a peaceful existence on the banks of the Nile, the great river, the backbone of the country, source of life and wealth.
The use of cosmetics and perfumes was pronounced in both these aspects, the religious and the secular. Those in charge of their production were the priests who lived near the temples and had laboratories in one of their rooms, where they created the ointments and fragrances that were used so profusely in religious ceremonies.
In a bas-relief of the temple of Edfu, hieroglyphics depict many of the recipes that were used to make perfumes. Their use in the liturgy was indispensable. Every morning a priest would enter the innermost part of the temple and, after prostrating himself before the statuette of the god that was worshipped there, would anoint the figure with fragrant ointment and perfume it with incense.