Ancient Egypt, Middle Kingdom, 11th to 12th Dynasty, ca. 2050 to 1786 BCE. One of the classic forms of antiquity, a squat, rounded vessel with a flat base and a wide circular mouth. It is carved from speckled granodiorite, dark-brown and black in color with intermittent inclusions in beige and metallic blue hues. The interior of the stone is carved out to form a conical receptacle for cosmetics such as black kohl paint worn around the eyes of both men and women. The accompanying original lid is comprised of two components, first being a lower perforated lid for dipping and holding an applicator stick, and second being an unperforated top with a small nubbin on the bottom to seal the vessel when not in use. Hand-carved and meticulously polished to a reflective sheen, this is a wonderful example of ancient craftsmanship! Size (without lids): 1.5" H (3.8 cm); size (with lids): 1.875" H (4.8 cm).
A similar jar, missing one lid component and in inferior condition, hammered for GBP 1000 ($1,420) at Christie's London Antiquities Auction (October 1, 2014 - Lot 160): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/an-egyptian-granodiorite-kohl-jar-middle-kingdom-5826746-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5826746&sid=0a5428af-f65d-4b00-ac7d-1e7736b305ae
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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