Kohl stick - ROM2018_16224_59


Kohl stick

Geography: Egypt
Date: c. 1550-1295 BC
Period: 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
15.2 × 0.8 cm
Object number: 909.80.520
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

From earliest times, the Ancient Egyptians used green or black eye paint to enhance the beauty of their eyes, and to protect them from the glare of the sun.  Both black eye paint made from galena, an ore of lead, and green eye paint made from malachite, an ore of copper, might also have helped to keep insects away from the eyes.

Kohl, the black eye paint, was usually kept in a container.  Before the Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egyptians may have used a finger to delicately apply the cosmetics, but after the Eleventh Dynasty small, carefully carved and polished sticks of wood were used.  Kohl sticks often have, as here, one rather bulbous end, and one rather sharp, perhaps to make a more precise line.

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