Friday, February 2, 2007
Ancient Egyptians and Cosmetics
It's a wonderful thing when two loves come together. In this case it's beauty and art and artifacts.
Beginning tomorrow the hugely anticipated King Tut exhibit opens at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Egyptian history and it's artifacts are simply amazing, but not at all simple .
The Tut exhibit will include a cosmetic jar, pictured here. Makeup and perfumes were widely used by the Ancient Egyptians.The cosmetic jars or vessels often held oils or animal fats( unguents) for perfumery.
Eyeliner in the form of pulverized malachite( green) and galena(later kohl) for black, was also very common. They had cosmetic palletes to grind the pigments, and also cosmetic spoons like the one here, made of wood. This spoon is a style known as the Swimming Girl, and would have been part of a larger cosmetic set.
Red Ocher was used to color the lips. ( so, yes, red lipstick has always been a classic)
There is obviously, so much more to the Ancient Egyptians than makeup, but besides the tie in here, it is ,to me, so interesting to see that they had and used such things as we do today, albeit in a more modern manner. The Egyptians were extremely advanced in so many areas. If you can make it to the Tut exhibit, by all means do. There are also so many great permanent
exhibits in museums around the country, and the world. All offer something to see.
Tut has previously been on view in LA, Florida, and Chicago.It will go to London in November.
If anyone has been already, please let me know your thoughts.
More Info :
www. 2fi.edu( Franklin Institute)
www.kingtut.org( official site)
Cosmetic jar photo: Franklin Institute
Cosmetic Spoon : 18th dynasty, Egyptian Museum , Cairo
Perfume Vessel- Egyptian Museum,Cairo
Some information via World Liverpool Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art