Kohl container - ROM2018_16224_34


Kohl container

Medium:Travertine (Egyptian alabaster)
Geography: Undetermined site, Egypt
Date: c. 1985-1773 BC
Period: 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom
4.5 x 7.7 cm
Object number: 909.80.167
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

This type of small container was used for storing the popular eye-liner, kohl. The interior drilling is precise and makes a cylindricalcal shaft. long and narrow. There is still material inside.

Ancient Egyptian eye make-up may have had some health benefits.  Most obviously,eye-shadow might have helped to dull the glare of sharp sunlight.  The lead in galena used for black kohl may have helped to deter insect infestations of the eyes, and the copper in the malachite green eye-paint may have had some slight anti-bacterial qualities.  Whatever health benefits there may or may not have been, eye-liner and eye-shadow were popular with both sexes at all periods of Egyptian history.

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