Perfume is a cosmetic that has existed for thousands of years. It has appeared in a variety of formats with a variety of production methods reflected by product availability and equipment availability. Perfume is both bespoke and mass produced, and has an endless variety of possible bouquets on offer. Perfume has been used for religious, spiritual and social purposes, having an important influence in many areas of everyday life. It has also been a valuable commodity throughout the ages, and is still a huge industry today. Perfume has as important an effect on modern life as it did in ancient times.
The study of perfume history has revealed many facts about ancient civilisations, helping us to piece together a more realistic view of daily life. In turn, perfume history has helped us to understand more about our own culture through comparisons made. Interest in perfume is universal; from the moment we are born the scents that we are exposed to affect our thoughts, emotions and responses to places, people and things. It is of interest to all as there is perfume for men and women, young and old alike.
The importance of perfume is represented in its presentation also. The bottles used not only influence the storage life and ease of use, but are also used to appeal to our other senses and thus attract potential buyers. Perfume bottles are often as beautiful and ornamental as they are practical, and are an extremely collectable item. Many modern manufacturers rely on this to make their perfumes more desirable by creating limited edition packaging. Attention to perfume packaging, however, is not a modern invention; the importance of perfume in history is reflected by the bottles I which the commodity was preserved.
The biggest collection of perfume bottles can be found in the innovative and beautiful perfume museum, situated in central Barcelona. The perfume museum was created in 1963 with the intention of making this valuable collection available to the general public, to be able to highlight important historical and geographical information. It is located in Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona`s gothic quarter. The aim of the museum is to appeal to historians and art lovers alike. The dazzling collection is amazingly beautiful, and every bottle has a tale to tell. The museum has certainly done its research and has information in various languages available to widen its appeal and make the history of perfume as accessible to all as possible.
The perfume museum is separated into two sections. The first section houses all types of modern synthetic and mass produced perfumes of the modern day, which are grouped by manufacturer. The other section contains perfume vessels from a variety of eras and geographical locations, displayed in chronological order. Both collections display a range of bottles and vessels from all over the world including Egypt, Israel and Africa. Every bottle displayed provides an insight into the perfume making process and its cultural significance, with further information available from guides. The oldest bottles give intriguing clues as to the preparation of perfume, and also provide information on the craftsmen of the day. The modern bottles create feelings of nostalgia or an enjoyment of modern living.
One of the most important collections details the use of perfume in Egyptian times, covering its use in rituals, its significance to the pharaohs and its impact on women`s lives, taking the information from historical records and inscriptions as well as the housed artifacts. And this is just a taster of what is on offer. True to the product that it proudly houses, there is something for everyone at the perfume museum.
For those not able to reach Barcelona, the museum also has an extremely comprehensive website which has full listings of all its perfume bottles, which can be viewed. It also offers a wealth of information of the history of perfume, making the valuable information it houses truly accessible on a global scale.
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