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Kohl Container

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

Cosmetic containers are not always of such luxe quality as this example. Carved from a single piece of ivory, it is decorated in a fastidious and elaborate style typical of Nineteenth Dynasty art. On the back is a stylized bouquet of papyrus and lotus blossoms, pomegranates, and four pairs of ducks. On the front, a stylishly dressed woman is surrounded by blossoms. In her right hand she holds a tray of fruit. At her feet is a sacrificial calf. Piercing the container at the top are several holes for cords that held stoppers.

MEDIUM Ivory, pigment
  • Possible Place Made: Thebes, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 1295–1185 B.C.E.
    DYNASTY Dynasty 19
    PERIOD New Kingdom
    DIMENSIONS 5 3/4 x 3 3/8 x 3/4 in. (14.6 x 8.5 x 1.9 cm)  (show scale)
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Decorated ivory kohl container with four separate tubular containers carved from one piece of ivory. Form, an upright oblong, flat base and rounded sides. The four compartments project from the top edge and continue through body to about 2.5 cm from base. Each tube pierced once near top; body (obverse) pierced three times near top, presumably for sealing covers. Obverse of body decorated with incised and painted figure of nude (?) girl standing in front of formal bouquet and bearing floral offerings. At her feet a Hathor cow coming out of a hill. In same technique on reverse, large formal bouquet of lotus and pomegranates with four sets of two geese, each attached to central stem. Condition: Assembled from several pieces. Large section missing from lower left side of obverse. Small fragments missing from along breaks. Ends of two tubes chipped. Remains of kohl still in tubes.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Kohl Container, ca. 1295–1185 B.C.E. Ivory, pigment, 5 3/4 x 3 3/8 x 3/4 in. (14.6 x 8.5 x 1.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 49.51. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.49.51_front_wwg8.jpg)
    IMAGE installation, West Wing gallery 8 installation, CUR.49.51_front_wwg8.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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