THE SCENT OF ANTIQUITY REBORN
The journey to reviving the scent of antiquity continues; following on from Aphrodite’s ROSE, SAGE and CORIANDER complete the ancient aromatic series brought to life for the exhibition THE COUNTLESS ASPECTS OF BEAUTY.
Back in 2017, the National Archaeological Museum of Greece shared a vision with KORRES and challenged the lab with the task of reviving scents of antiquity. Based on fractions of information provided by Linear B tablets used for record keeping during the Mycenaean Period in relation to the ingredients ordered for the palace’s perfumers, the journey in the universe of experimental archaeology led to the first of the scents, the seductive Rose of Aphrodite. Inspired by the majestic image and captivating allure of the Goddess that became a symbol of eternal beauty, the scent was revived remaining loyal to the ingredients and methods of ancient perfumers and presented to the public in a special place of the temporary exhibition “The countless aspects of Beauty”, next to sensuous clay and marble figures of Aphrodite. Since the opening of the exhibition in May 2018, more than 430.000 visitors enjoyed this unique olfactive experience of the ancient world.
It is at this same spot that two new scents of antiquity, Sage and Coriander, revived by KORRES for the National Archaeological Museum, will be revealed this spring to mark the one-year anniversary of the exhibition. A milestone in the exhibition’s life cycle, as together with the new scents, a statue of Goddess Aphrodite of Roman times, will emerge from the storerooms of the Museum for the first time to light up the space and delight visitors with its charm. The statue follows a Hellenistic version of the Cnidian Aphrodite of Praxiteles, assigned to his son, Cephisothodos the Younger. The goddess is depicted totally naked, with elaborate headdress, covering prudishly with the hands her breasts and genitals. The statue once belonged to the Alexandros Iolas collection and entered the museum collections in 1988. After long cleaning and conservation works, Aphrodite is ready again to offer her beauty secrets, among which the world of fragrance takes a distinct place.
As with the first scent, the KORRES lab looked into sources that spread through centuries; Linear B tablets, recipes found in the works of Dioskourides and information on ingredients and methods from writings of Theofrastos, as well as later studies. Wild olive oil from Crete, cyperus from Amorgos island -a widespread weed with aromatic root that thrives close to aquatic ecosystems-, coriander fruit, sage leaves, wool and wine from grapes of the Peloponnese; these are the ingredients that were mixed through stypsis, filtering and colouring to create Sage and Coriander ancient scents in what proved to be a challenging process, largely dependent on experimentation, yet a magical journey of a lifetime.
Rose, Coriander and Sage – one dimensional, primordial fragrances that stand in their golden niches in the museum’s exhibition space, pour the magic of the ancient world into today, as it was revived in a contemporary lab, with the original raw ingredients; staying as close as possible to the methods of perfumers of antiquity, unveiling an unknown chemistry of natural ingredients to today’s scientists and re-confirming the timeless appeal and value of the concept of Beauty in any of its countless aspects.
The temporary exhibition of the National Archaeological Museum “The countless aspects of Beauty”
will be open until the end of 2019
For more information about the National Archaeological Museum: www.namuseum.gr
For more information regarding the scents revived by KORRES