Cosmetic Container in Form of Recumbent Gazelle
Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Like spoons, cosmetic dishes may have been used for mixing ointments in the home, or for ritual purposes in a temple, or both.
Many of the dishes have images that seem to refer to beliefs about life after death. Both the lotus and the fish, for example, were associated with rebirth. Other subjects, such as the oryx (a type of antelope), may allude to the desire to maintain universal order. Because the oryx lived in the mysterious desert—beyond the ordered realm of Egyptian civilization—a bound oryx represented victory over chaos.
ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E.
2 9/16 × 2 1/2 × 7 11/16 in. (6.5 × 6.4 × 19.5 cm) (show scale)
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
A toilet box in the form of a recumbent gazelle, left front leg raised. The lid forms part of the back on the animal. Headless. Ivory button on lid.
Condition: Diagonal cracks are visible in the left flank and forequarters. Left front leg is mended and does not appear to be of the same wood as the rest of the piece. A longitudinal crack is seen in the stump of the neck.
Cosmetic Container in Form of Recumbent Gazelle, ca. 1539-1292 B.C.E. Wood, ivory, 2 9/16 × 2 1/2 × 7 11/16 in. (6.5 × 6.4 × 19.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.601E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 37.601E_NegC_SL4.jpg)
overall, unedited master file, 37.601E_NegC_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Tell me more.
Cosmetic containers in the shape of animals, humans, flowers, and gods were quite common in ancient Egypt, and you'll see various examples of them throughout the ancient Egyptian galleries.
A section of this gazelle’s back is removable to access the cavity for storing the actual material. It likely held powdered cosmetics, such as kohl, a black powder used to line the eyes!