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Ancient Egyptian kohl containers

Kohl containers are the most widespread objects associated with cosmetics in Pharaonic Egypt. A huge variety of materials was used in the fabrication of the containers. In some cases cosmetics were simply wrapped in leather or linen bags, or shell and leaves, but in other cases, elaborate materials were used to produce these vessels.

Archaeologists have not yet developed a typology for kohl containers from the Pharaonic period. For my book "Paint it, Black", I have been working on a preliminary typology and will proceed with a research project developing a typology for kohl containers for Pharaonic Egyptian history. The variety of materials used in the production of kohl containers, becomes larger through the ages. In the beginning of history for instance, often albast and stone kohl vessels are found, like the one displayed here in the middle below with the kohl stains on the rim. The glass containers diplayed on the left and bottom right are from the New Kingdom when the glass production reached its peak. The translucent glass container on the right is a Roman kohl flask.


More information wil follow in the near future on the development of this typology.

The objects in this page are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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