Kingdom of Kush: History of Bakhoor

Kingdom of Kush: History of Bakhoor

Along the Nile was once a civilization not many have paid attention to. The home of some two hundred pyramids, deities, and rich culture- you may think it was in Egypt, but no, it was south of it. Where modern-day Sudan stands, a Nubian civilization stood called the Kingdom of Kush. Often ruled by a queen, Kush was home to the Nile river and mountains and was often called the Land of the Bow, as the people of Kush were great archers.

 

In between the Nile River’s flourishing and the kingdoms' mountains, Kush’s environment was varied. It was not entirely dry, as there was a steady amount of rainfall which leads to fertile soil, so they often had plenty of resources. This allowed them to partake in trade with their neighbors in Ancient Egypt- mostly gold and iron, which were two of the most important resources, but also wheat, ivory, and incense. Incense mattered to the Kushites in a spiritual manner. They used it in their religious ceremonies, similar to many cultures and religions, but they also used perfumed oils and incense in their funeral ceremonies. The oils were used to aid in preserving the body and lessen the stench of it, while the bakhoor is believed to be a form of honoring the deceased. Due to the fact that the Kingdom of Kush and Ancient Egypt were so close, sometimes even united under one kingdom, their cultures were very similar and they shared many deities and beliefs. This was reflected in the Kushites art, such as on decorated containers made of pottery that depicted various symbols and deities.

These beautiful containers were used to store their scented oils, bakhoor ingredients, or cosmetics. The people of Kush even buried their dead, both noble or common, with these containers, as they believed in an afterlife. One interesting artifact uncovered from the kingdom was a decorated oil burner, where you could light a flame on the bottom part and have the perfumed oil fragrance your surroundings. 
It isn’t very clear what type of aromatic plants or materials the Kushites used to perfume with, but seeing as they were involved in the trade of precious materials, it is safe to assume they could afford to acquire quality ingredients for their cosmetic purposes. Their fertile land could have also held many plants and herbs to use in the mixtures. 
Often looked over when studying ancient history, the Lost Kingdom of Kush just might be the earliest civilization in the heart of Africa. The area-rich in human history and knowledge- waits to be thoroughly uncovered for its culture and mysteries. It is however clear that its inhabitants held finer values such as art, and showcased their beliefs and strengths on the items they created. 



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