Now, think about these gifts. Two out of the three gifts are actually scents: frankincense and myrrh. Why did these men bring these particular scents to a newborn child? Well, we need to go back to ancient Egypt if we want to understand this. Frankincense and myrrh were meant as burnt offerings to pay honor to kings and gods. Tree resins, which are very fragrant, were burnt, so the fragrant smoke would rise up to the gods up above. This manner of diffusing scent was called ‘per fumum’ meaning ‘through smoke’. So we now understand where our word perfume comes from. The smoke was supposed to reach the nostrils of divine beings. Every contemporary viewer of this painting would have understood that by offering these fragrances, these royals’ symbolically acknowledged the divine and profane superiority of Christ. He was the king of kings, so to say.