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On Sunday 9 July 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became the world’s youngest country.
The conflict in Sudan has been well documented, but little attention has been paid to the crafts and arts of Sudan.
Sudan and South Sudan, shares borders with nine different states; Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, Zaire, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, and is separated by the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The trade routes can still be pointed out by a chain of ruins, extending from the shores of the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.
(Ref) The kingdom of Kerma, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, rose about 5,000 years ago out of a pastoral culture with the first settlements established by at least 7000 B. Kerma was known as Ta-Sety (“the Land of the Archers’ Bow”) to the ancient Egyptians. (Ref) Due to its geographical position, for the15 centuries that the Kerma civilization flourished it was an extraordinarily prosperous empire ruled by a series of powerful kings.
During this time Kerma established itself very successfully as a middle-man between sub-Saharan Africa and Egypt that controlled the flow of trade in luxury goods to Egyptian Pharaohs, which included gold, ivory, precious woods, wild animals, slaves and of especial interest to us aromatics.
From our present vantage point it is hard to imagine how important and how big the trade in aromatics was in the antiquity.
Every nation of the historical times used frankincense and myrrh in religious ceremonies, cultural rituals and for medicinal purposes.