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Tapputi, also referred to as Tapputi-Belatekallim ("Belatekallim" refers to a female overseer of a palace),[1] is one of the world's first recorded chemists, a perfume-maker mentioned in a cuneiform tablet dated around 1200 BC in Babylonian Mesopotamia.[2] She used flowers, oil, and calamus along with cyperus, myrrh, and balsam. She added water or other solvents then distilled and filtered several times.[3] This is also the oldest referenced still.

She also was an overseer at the Royal Palace, and worked with a researcher named (—)-ninu (the first part of her name has been lost).[4]


Tapputi used the first recorded still and wrote the first known treatise on perfume making, which is preserved on a clay tablet. She developed a technique using solvents in order to make scents lighter and longer lasting.[5][better source needed]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Houlihan, Sherida; Wotiz, John H. (June 1975), "Women in chemistry before 1900", Journal of Chemical Education, 52 (6): 362, Bibcode:1975JChEd..52..362H, doi:10.1021/ed052p362
  2. ^ Gabriele Kass-Simon; Patricia Farnes; Deborah Nash, eds. (1999). Women of Science: Righting the Record (First Midland Book ed.). Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press. p. 301. ISBN 9780253208132.
  3. ^ Levey, Martin (1973). Early Arabic Pharmacology: An Introduction Based on Ancient and Medieval Sources. Brill Archive. p. 9. ISBN 90-04-03796-9.
  4. ^ Rayner-Canham, Marelene, and Geoffrey Rayner-Canham. Women in Chemistry: Their Changing Roles from Alchemical Times to the Mid-Twentieth Century. First edition. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 9 June 2005. 1. Print.
  5. ^ Rhoades, Tiffany (31 January 2017). "Tapputi Belatekallim, the First Chemist". Girl Museum. Retrieved 16 March 2024.