Contemporary kohl containers

From all over the West Asian and North African region, kohl containers are found made of a variety of different materials. In some cultures the containers are made by girls and women who are getting married (often made with textile or leather and decorated with embroidery or beadwork), elsewhere specialised craftsmen produce the kohl containers and bottles (most often for the production of silver bottles).


Although all variation is in essence possible, there are some general indications where a kohl container comes from.  The Maghreb produces for instance wooden and leather containers. And although wood is not found outside the Mahreb, in other parts of Africa (Egypt for example) also leather kohl containers are found. Silver bottles are made all over the WANA region, however, in Oman and Yemen silver is used often. In Bedouin culture containers are often made in such a way that they can hang in tents of houses or worn on the body. In urban settings and in sedentary populations kohl flasks that can stand are often produced. There are specific containers sold to pelgrims who went to Mekka. The background image of this page displays such a container.

The materials and decoration of the kohl containers may tell about the domains to which kohl containers belong. In the Palestinian region the containers are made of textile and decorated in the same manner as costume and cloting items. While in other regions the silver containers refer to the domain of jewellery. Some silver flasks are worn tied into the belt of its owner. The same holds true for some of the leather containers from the Maghreb that are worn as necklaces.

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