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Kohl Pot

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
Cosmetics and Eye Care

Egyptian women and men used eye makeup for both decoration and protection.

The most popular eye cosmetic consisted of ground galena, a dark lead ore, mixed with water or gum to produce a black paste called kohl. It was stored in squat containers usually made of stone. Applied to the rims and lashes, kohl emphasized the eyes’ contours and reduced sun glare, much like lamp-black worn by modern football players.

This ancient cosmetic is still used as eye makeup throughout the Near East.
MEDIUM Basalt (probably)
  • Place Made: Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1938–1700 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 12 to early Dynasty 13
    PERIOD Middle Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 37.646Ea: 1 15/16 x Diam. 1 5/8 in. (4.9 x 4.2 cm) 37.646Eb: 1/4 x Diam. 1 3/4 in. (0.7 x 4.4 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Dark stone (black) kohl pot (a) and lid (b). Condition: Rim chipped in several places. Vessel scratches. Small chips in the lid.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    CAPTION Kohl Pot, ca. 1938–1700 B.C.E. Basalt (probably), 37.646Ea: 1 15/16 x Diam. 1 5/8 in. (4.9 x 4.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.646Ea-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.37.646Ea-b_erg2.jpg)
    IMAGE group, CUR.37.646Ea-b_erg2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 11/26/2007
    "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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