Cosmetic Spoon

Second Intermediate Period–New Kingdom

Not on view

The bowl of this wooden cosmetic spoon is carved in the form of an outstretched hand holding a unionid (a freshwater Nile mollusk). At the opposite end of the long handle is a waterfowl with its head bent backward. This bird is often identified as a duck, but the long neck suggests that it might instead be a goose, associated in other examples with the earth god Geb. The spiral handle here is unusual, as most such shafts are smooth.

Once thought to be simple toilet items, "cosmetic spoons" are now thought to be ritual items rich with iconography connecting them to fertility and rites of renewal.

Cosmetic Spoon, Wood

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