Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Kohl Tube and Applicator

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
ca. 1550–1295 B.C.
From Egypt
Faience, gold; hematite
Container height: 5.5 cm (2 3/16 in.); w. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.)
Length of stick: 4.5 cm (1 3/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 117
This small kohl tube is made of bright blue Egyptian faience with gold mounts around the base and rim. A stick of hematite serves both as the closure for the tube and an applicator for the powdery cosmetic that would have been stored inside. Both the quality of the piece, and the use of gold indicate that it belonoged to a person of importance. This is confirmed by the the inscription on the side of the vessel which reads: Greatest of the Five, Djehutymose. The title "greatest of the five" was held by the high priest of Thoth at Hermopolis.

In ancient Egypt, men as well as women used cosmetics and wore jewelry. For examples of this, see the collection of facsimile paintings (copies of wall paintings in Egyptian tombs - for example, 30.4.144); the cosmetic box of Kemeni (26.7.1438); and the jewelry of Wah (40.3.1).
Formerly Theodore M. Davis Collection. Bequeathed to the Museum by Davis, 1915; accessioned, 1930.

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