Ancient Egypt was very much a part of Africa's Neolithic period. Their word for luck was “sha” and “sha sha” meant bead. Egyptians used beads to cover almost every article of clothing and any uncovered part of the body. Quantities of beads were buried with the owner to ensure comfort in the afterlife. With reference to Neolithic Egypt, Lois Dubin wrote: No other civilization, however; manufactured such and enormous variety of beads in so many different materials. They were not only used for necklaces but were also attached to linen and papyrus backings to make belts, aprons, and sandals. Beadwork originated in Old Kingdom Egypt about 2200 BC.
I have previously written on Roman perfume bottles and the importance of glass in the Roman Empire. Perfume was also central to ancient Greek life. It was so popular that the politician Solon temporarily banned the use of it to prevent an economic crisis. It was at the center of hospitality, wealth, status, daily life and even philosophy. It was seen as erotic, mystical and spiritual. It was linked to beauty which was inextricably linked with divinity. The origins of perfume and perfumery are interwoven with Greek mythology. In Homeric tradition, the Olympian gods taught perfumery to people. The color and scent of the rose is attributed to events surrounding Venus and Cupid. Lekuthos were used for liquid perfume and were slim elegant glass bottles. Aryballes were used for oils and unguents. Alabastron perfume bottles were highly prized, mainly among women and it was common for the craftsmen to brand the bottles to mark their craftsmanship, making them even more collectable. Even so, terracotta vessels, metal or alabaster were the most common materials for scented oil. The exquisite perfume vessel shown above is a exaleiptron (an older name was plemochoa) used for storing large amounts of perfume, possibly for washing and anointing the feet of visitors. The exaleiptron has religious significance in that it was used during the Eleusinian Mysteries when, on the last day they filled two plemochoai and set them up one to the east, one to the west, and then overturned them, saying mystic words as they did so. They were also used as grave goods.