Sunday, September 5, 2010

Leather & Perfumery - Middle Ages & Renaissance - Part TWO

Katherine Heigl in gloves

As the use of leather comes from Ancient times, so does gloves. It is know that gloves and mittens made of animal furs were worn by cavemen to protect them from the cold. Egyptian women used gloves to protect the beauty of their hands. At that time, a common beauty treatment was to rub the hand with honey and fragrant oils, and cover them with a thin glove made of silk. The Romans put on the gloves while eating. These gloves were made from linen and silk. It was safe to take hot meat because the Romans did not use forks in those times. Such kind of gloves was called «Digitalia» and they were also used for cooking.
During the Middle Ages glove were means of protection to work and used by peasants while working with thorny or spiny grass. From the 12th century they received a prestigious status and became an accessory of first rate, decorated with gems, embroideries and pearls. They began to be worn by the church and by royalty. What started as a mean of protection to the hand, in the 13th century became a fashion ornament worn by people of taste and elegance.
Catherine de Medici -
As history tells, Catherine de Medici, born Italian and ruled France from 1547 to 1559, and had very little political influence as a queen, but a lot of influence on her court as a queen of taste and love for arts, architecture and perfumes. She even had her own private perfumer, who would follow with her anywhere the her court travel to. As she would wear poison rings to protect herself against her enemies, some historians say she introduced the fashion of scented gloves to mask the smell of these poisons. Others say she just disliked the smell of the leather of the gloves.
Masters gantiers et parfumeurs -

As civilization developed in Europe, during the Middle Ages, tanners and leather workers united in the trade guilds, as did the craftsmen in other fields. Royal charters or licenses were issued, permitting people to practice leather tanning. In the nineteenth century, vegetable tanning was supplemented by chrome tanning. This process uses chemicals, and today accounts for about 80% to 90% of all tanning done, except for the leather used in the soles of shoes and tooling leathers.
Cultivation of flowers for their perfume essence, which had begun in the 14th century, grew into a major industry in the south of France. During the Renaissance period, perfumes were used primarily by the wealthy to mask body odors, resulting from infrequent bathing. In 1656, perfumery received official recognition from the French, with the establishment of the Guild of Glove and Perfume Makers. Partly due to this patronage, the western perfumery industry was created. France quickly became the European center of perfume and cosmetics.
Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume, the story of a murderer, although sordid, provides an excellent panorama of the leather tanning commerce and perfume production for the aristocracy. Set in the 18th century in France, the book relates the story of Jean Baptiste Grenouille, a person born without any bodily odors or scents, but with incredible skills and incomparable sense of smell. At the age of eight he was sold and became an apprentice of a tanner. One day he finds a young girl with a marvelous scent, contrary to the stinky smells he was used to, found in the tanner. As he murders her by accident, he realizes that one cannot keep that wonderful scent. So he begins a sordid journey to try to capture the scent of women and to preserve it. he learns the perfumery craft with Baldini, a great perfumier, and from there he travels to Grasse to learn the technique of enfleurage, that he believed it would lead him to his quest.
For the movie trailer, click HERE.


Lu Barros said...

Olá tudo bem? Amei seu blog ele é demais, parabéns!!!
Da uma passadinha no meu e se voce gostar me segue ta bom
Beijos e muito sucesso pra voce.

Miami Glamour said...

Hey....Great Blog

I really like this blog, its very interesting

You can check out mine too and you can leave your comments there, we also have a page where you can find the perfect frangrance! on the page we have reviews and if you like any product you can share it on facebook!

Thank you!

M said...

Simone -- This is one of your very best blog articles ever; thanks so much for taking the time to write at such a quality level. Much appreciated. (OK, I'm a history buff, and the Renaissance is perhaps my favorite era, so no wonder I'm ecstatic.) I love it when everyday items such as fragrance or food or clothing are put into a historical context, and you've done that marvelously.
I'll be in Italy this coming week, and you can be sure I'll be soaking up that Gothic and Renaissance vibe wherever I go!
All the best,

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dearest, Italy??? I wanna goooo!
I am fighting this food poison from Roshashana dinner :-(. So I haven't posted the rest of the article. I want to get till modern times and post the list of leather perfumes which are a passion of mine. meanwhile i will think of you having a belissimo time in Italy.
Hope the articles will be posted by the time you are back!
major XXX

Maison Parfum said...

Nice historical article for perfume.. Well we could see that perfume is now common to us and even the celebrities are using it.

Perfume is not only for gloves or for the dead but for the living..

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

I will post the updated fragrances soon :-)

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