Achaemenid Mosaic Glass Kohl Pot

£ 1,500.00

An ancient Achaemenid, core-formed polychrome, opaque glass kohl bottle. It features a tapering, square-section body, with a slightly convex cylindrical base. The neck is round and short presenting a rolled rim decorated with alternating yellow, white and brown ropework design. There is a single small knob at each corner of the shoulder. The body is formed from a rich black-coloured glass, decorated with a white feathered pattern between horizontal bands of alternating yellow, brown and white glass. The item is accompanied by a custom-made display stand. The item presents an old collection label sticker, 12891YC, which is easily removable without compromising the object. One minor chip to the side and iridescence on the neck.

Date: 6th-4th century BC
Provenance: From a royal Middle Eastern collection, acquired in the 1990s.
Condition: Excellent condition
Product Code: NES-148
Category: Tags: , ,

This particular vessel, thin and narrow in shape, was most likely rod-formed, meaning the core which formed its centre could be removed. Due to this, vessels formed in this way tended to be narrow and tall, perfect for holding kohl and an applicator. The earliest core-formed vessels appeared in Egypt in the 14th centuries and spread to the Near East around the 1st Millennium. Vessels of this type were popular in the 6th – 4th centuries, used in the Near East and across the Greek Empire.
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 and texts. In antiquity (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 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.

Weight 20.2 g
Dimensions L 7.2 cm

Sand Core


Near East (Western Asiatic)

Reference: For Similar: Christie’s Auction House, London, Auction 7325, Antiquities, 25th October 2006, lot 33

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