Fragrance in Art: Portrait of Lady Tjepu at the Brooklyn Museum

Lady Tjepu, ca. 1390-1353 B.C.E. Limestone, gessoed and painted, 14 13/16 x 9 7/16 in. (37.6 x 24 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 65.197
Lady Tjepu, ca. 1390-1353 B.C.E. Limestone, gessoed and painted, 14 13/16 x 9 7/16 in. (37.6 x 24 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 65.197

I just wanted to share this beautiful ancient Egyptian tomb painting, a portrait of a woman named Lady Tjepu (now in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum). I thought it would interest some of you–in addition to her sheer linen gown, opulent jewelry, and dramatic kohl, she wears a perfumed cone of wax on her head. Women and men wore these cones as a means of self-perfuming: as the cone gradually melted during the course of a banquet or other festivity, its perfumed oils would run down the wig and scent the wearer’s body, drenching it in fragrance.

If you’re going to deal with hot weather (even hotter than we’re having here in NYC this week!), you may as well smell good meanwhile.

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4 thoughts on “Fragrance in Art: Portrait of Lady Tjepu at the Brooklyn Museum

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