One of the scent formulas written in Akkadian on clay tablets by Tapputi, the world's first female perfumer and the first female chemist in Mesopotamia, has been revealed. A team of 15 experts that included academics carried out studies to unlock the 3,200-year-old fragrance.
The study, which was implemented with the cooperation of the Scent Academy and the Scent Culture Association, shed light on that period thanks to Tapputi's cuneatic formulas.
Fragrance specialist Bihter Türkan Ergül said: "We were able to find answers to questions such as how she made the scent, how she carried out the distillation process, and how she reached the liquid fragrance substances. Each cuneiform on the tablet offered us a different excitement. The real historical journey was to be able to sniff that smell."
The specialist said the team has been working day and night for three years to revive the fragrance with an expert on ancient perfumes, ceramics and glass works, Cenker Atila, and the head of excavation of the mist shop in Harran, Mehmet Önal.
"As the Scent Culture Association, we are adapting the formulas that we have obtained in this journey to keep alive the scent traditions that lived in these lands. I want the scent cultures of these lands to leave their mark on the world again. We live in these lands that have an 8,000-year-old scent culture. The main reason why Mesopotamia is rich in scent culture is the fertile lands. To protect and spread them again, to increase their popularity and usage, we carry out many activities, the most important of which was the fragrance academy," she added.
"When we look at civilizations like that of Assyria, Mesopotamia, Hittite, Seljuk and Ottoman, we understand that Turkey is a fragrance civilization. We have been working on this for three years and we discovered Tapputi," she said.
Noting that there are hundreds of tablets on fragrance that have been unearthed so far, Ergül stated that some of them have been translated and the work is continuing for the rest.
"In the scent formulas on the clay tablets, information such as how Tapputi conducted her studies in the full moon and how she presented it to the stars is written. In other words, we don't only see how was the formula but also the way the scent is made. The tiniest details of the making project also take place. A total of 27 pages appeared from the two tablets. It also took pages to interpret the translation. Lemongrass, myrrh, rose, botanical plants are also mentioned here. After this project is finished, we will have 11 clay tablets left."
Stating that Tapputi uses all kinds of flowers, tree resins, spices, plants and substances such as horseradish in the production of perfumes, expert on ancient perfumes Cenker Atila said: "There are two tablets in the world the 'Tapputi' name is written. One of them is in the Louvre Museum in Paris and the other in the Girl Museum in Germany."
Stating that there are two important problems they encountered in the translation of the tablets, Atila said: "One of them is that the tablets are broken and some important parts are lost. The second difficulty is that some plants and containers used 3,200 years ago do not have the exact equivalent now. For example, we do not know exactly what the 'hirsu' container is. However, since it is used in the perfume distillation process, it should be a large pot-like container. In addition, the fact that we do not know the current names of some spices and flowers used in perfume production is an important problem."