Early Dynastic Alabaster Cosmetic Container


A Near Eastern multi-compartmented cosmetic container, finely modelled in alabaster, dating to the Early Dynastic II-III period, circa 2700-2334 BC. The vessel features an elongated body, sitting on a flattened base, and slightly convex walls extending into gently carinated shoulder. Further enrichments include two rams’ heads sculpted in low relief to one side.

Date: Circa 2700-2350
Period: Early Dynastic II-III
Condition: Fine condition, with minor chippings to the encrusted rims

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SKU: HL-16 Category:

Stone compartmented containers, such as this fine example, are one of the most significant objects yielded from temples of the Early Dynastic II-III (circa 2700-2350 BC), recovered extensively across both Sumerian and Akkadian cultural areas. They were used to store kohl, a cosmetic made of minerals and used to contour or darken the eyelids. Such containers would have been incised with names of donors and deities, or decorated with zoomorphic motifs, and placed in temples as dedication to gods or votive offerings.  The majority of this type of vessels have been excavated at temples dedicated to the goddess Inanna. This might be linked with god Enlil’s praise of Inanna beautifully painted eyelids.

Weight 38.2 g
Dimensions L 5.3 x W 3.1 x H 1.5 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item 62.70.5 .

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