Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 26th Dynasty, ca. 664 to 525 BCE. An amazing ensemble of four blue faience jars of various sizes - the smallest with a lid - intended to hold kohl, the ancient Egyptians' eye liner used by both men and women. Even more fascinating, desiccated nuggets of original kohl are included as well. Each cup is of a simple, utilitarian cylindrical form with a flat bottom, slender gently flaring walls, and a rounded rim. The faience presents gorgeous bright aqua blue hues. The use of blue faience was significant as scholars believe that it symbolized the color of the river Nile both on earth and in the afterlife. Size: largest jar measures 3" in diameter x 2.375" H (7.6 cm x 6 cm)
Kohl was made of powdered antimony, black copper oxide, burnt almonds, and brown ochre. The ancient Egyptians used kohl as an eyeliner to enhance the appearance of their eyes. Scholars believe this was done to rival the appearance of the sun god Re. Not only was kohl used to create an attractive and symbolic effect, but it was also used for several practical reasons - to prevent infection, deter flies, and deflect sun glare.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Dr. Sid Port collection, California, USA, acquired in the 1980s
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