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Cosmetic Dish in Form of Cartouche Containing Fish

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
Cosmetic Containers

Like us, the ancient Egyptians used cosmetics, and often for the same purposes.

Archaeologists use the term “cosmetic container” to describe a variety of Egyptian boxes that once held scented, oil-based ointments. The salves in these boxes were used by women and men to heighten sexual allure and to camouflage body odor. Orange or yellow stains seen on ancient representations of clothing and on actual surviving linen garments show how liberally such ointments were applied.
MEDIUM Wood, frit
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 18
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 2 1/8 x 4 5/8 in. (5.4 x 11.8 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A wooden toilet dish in the form of a cartouche. Incised lines running around the edge of the dish are filled with blue frit. Two Bolti fish, face to face and holding lotus flowers in their mouths are incised in the dish which represents a fish pond. The short handle is decorated with an Egyptian desert hare in relief. It is seen from the side crouching, facing forward. A lotus with sepals curving downward is at the rear of the hare. All incised areas around the hare and lotus contain blue frit. The back is undecorated. There is a flattened area on the bottom to prevent the dish from rocking. Condition: Excellent. Three chips off the inner surface of dish. Chip off the upper right edge.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Egyptian Orientation Gallery, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Cosmetic Dish in Form of Cartouche Containing Fish, ca. 1539–1292 B.C.E. Wood, frit, 2 1/8 x 4 5/8 in. (5.4 x 11.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.608E. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.608E_erg456.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.37.608E_erg456.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 9/6/2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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