Egyptian Alabaster Kohl Jar

£ 500.00

An Ancient Egyptian banded alabaster kohl jar, with a rounded, eliptical body and a short neck with a tapering rim. The piece has two side ledge handles and a rounded base. The colouring is enhanced by the thin veins of white that encircle the piece, giving it a pleasing geometric style.

Date: Circa 664-525 BC
Period: 26th Dynasty
Provenance: Early 20th century English collection.
Condition: Very fine, small chip to the rim and the bottom and a small repair to the rim. Small chip to one of the ledge handles. Please refer to the photos. Provided with stand.


Product Code: ES-20

This stone variety is the alabaster, also called Oriental alabaster, since the early examples came from the Far East. In Ancient Egypt, craftsmen used alabaster for canopic jars and various other sacred and sepulchral objects, but also for everyday items, like kohl jars and perfume containers. Kohl comes from a lead sulphide called “galena”, which was considered to have disinfecting and fly-deterrent properties, and is found frequently prescribed for assorted eye complaints in medical papyri. The Ancient Egyptians (both men and women) wore kohl on their eyelids as protection against the glare of the sun. In addition to this practical use, outlining the eyes could also have been a way of drawing a protective amulet, such as the Wadjet Eye, right onto the skin. To make kohl, the galena was first ground up on a palette, with water or animal fat then added to create a paste. This paste would have adhered to the skin, with soot also added to produce a darker coloured kohl.



Dimensions H 5.5 cm



North Africa

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