EGYPTIAN COSMETIC JAR
Measurements: 2 cm - height
Description: A beautiful Egyptian cosmetic jar finely modelled in alabaster. The vessel features a flattened base, a tapering pyriform body with a short neck, pronounced shoulders, and a wide disc rim.
This carved Egyptian alabaster jar would have been used for kohl. Kohl was a lead sulphide called galena, which had disinfectant and fly-deterrent properties. Medical papyri frequently prescribe kohl for assorted eye complaints. The ancient Egyptians also wore kohl on their eyelids as protection against the glare of the sun. Outlining the eyes could also have been a way of drawing a protective amulet, such as the Wadjet Eye, right on to the skin. Kohl was originally applied right on to the skin. To make kohl, the galena was first ground up on a palette. Water, or most probably animal fat, was then added to create a paste that would adhere to the skin. Soot may also have been added to the paste to produce a darker coloured kohl.
Period: New Kingdom, 1500-1070 BC
Condition: Fine with signs of aging and use to the surface.