Kohl tube and stick, Wood, ebony, ivory, copper

Kohl tube and stick

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18, early
reign of Ahmose–Joint reign
ca. 1550–1458 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Tomb CC 37, Hall (C), burial 16, inside oval basket, Carnarvon/Carter excavations, 1911
Wood, ebony, ivory, copper
H. 7.8 cm (3 1/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 114
This container for an eye cosmetic called kohl, is a marvelous little portable makeup kit. It consists of an octagonal wooden tube with an ivory base and lid. The lid swivels around a wooden peg. Four wire loops are attached to the main body of the container. The two on the front hold a piece of ivory carved in the shape of an ancient Egyptian door bolt. When pushed upward this bolt fit into another wire loop on the lid (now missing) and closed the container. The two loops on the side of the container hold the kohl stick with which the owner applied the cosmetic.

This kohl tube was found in a basket with a set of cosmetic implements (26.7.837a–d), which includes a mirror, a razor, a whetstone, and a pair of tweezers.
Excavated by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, 1911. Acquired by Carnarvon in the division of finds. Carnarvon Collection, 1911-1926. Carnarvon Collection purchased by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon, 1926.

Carnarvon, 5th Earl of and Howard Carter 1912. Five Years' Explorations at Thebes. p. 52.

Hayes, William C. 1959. Scepter of Egypt II: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Hyksos Period and the New Kingdom (1675-1080 B.C.). Cambridge, Mass.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 64, fig 33.