Bronze kohl stick, Egypt, 1575-1194BCE

Made:
1575-1194 BCE in Egypt
Bronze kohl stick, Egyptian, 1575BC-1194BC. Photographed being held by hand. Grey graduated background.

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Bronze kohl stick, Egyptian, 1575BC-1194BC. Photographed being held by hand. Grey graduated background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Bronze kohl stick, Egyptian, 1575BC-1194BC

The Egyptians wore kohl around the eyes as a cosmetic. It not only gave the wearer a beautiful appearance but was believed to have medicinal as well as religious purposes. Kohl is made from galena, a lead-containing ore. It appears to have been a deterrent against insects that irritate the eyes. Its dark colour also protected against the sun.

Horus is a major Egyptian god. The eye of Horus is common in Ancient Egyptian imagery. Wearers of this symbol believed it protected them. Some historians believe Egyptians thought outlining their eyes carried the protection of the gods with them.

Details

Category:
Classical & Medieval Medicine
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A634898
Materials:
bronze (copper, tin alloy) and complete
type:
cosmetic applicator
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • cosmetics