Make-up has been worn since the Predynastic period of Egypt and cosmetics were a large industry in ancient Egypt, produced professionally and sold in the market place. Eyeliner was made from a lead sulphite called ‘galena’ which was first ground up on a palette, like this piece, with water or animal fat to create a paste which then would be applied to the face. Different ingredients would be mixed with the paste to create different colours, soot would have been added to darken the paste. In Ancient Egypt it was believed that this paste (which they called kohl), was used to protect against a myriad of eye ailments and to protect from the harsh glare of the sun.
Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Palette Pair
A pair of ancient Egyptian cosmetic palettes carved from a grey hardstone, most likely greywacke. Each palette is trapezoidal in shape, which narrows slightly towards a tapering edge.
Period: Predynastic Period
Provenance: From the private collection of the late Mr S.M., London, UK, 1969-1999; thence by descent.
Condition: Fine condition with scratches to the surface.