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Kohl Tube in the Form of a Fish

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The ancient Egyptians stored kohl, an eyeliner made from galena, in many different types of containers. The pear-shaped pot and the fish were two possible forms for holding kohl. The fish, which was also a popular fertility symbol, connects the role of the highlighted eyes with Egyptian conceptions of beauty.
MEDIUM Egyptian alabaster (calcite)
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18 (possibly)
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 1 5/8 x 1 1/8 x 4 3/8 in. (4.1 x 2.9 x 11.1 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Alabaster figure of a fish with hollow body with opening through mouth. Use uncertain, probably to be used as a kohl tube. Compare with 37.316E. Condition: General condition good. Tail slightly chipped, mouth chipped. Eyes incised. Wear around edges of the mouth suggest heavy use.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Kohl Tube in the Form of a Fish, ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E. Egyptian alabaster (calcite), 1 5/8 x 1 1/8 x 4 3/8 in. (4.1 x 2.9 x 11.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 11.668. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 11.668_side1_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE profile, side 1, 11.668_side1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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