A pyxis was a vessel used in the ancient world, usually by women. The pyxis was used to store jewellery and makeup. The Egyptian Book of the Dead recalls spell 125 which states that one shouldn’t speak unless they are “clean, dressed in fresh clothes, shod in white sandals, painted with eye-paint, anointed with the finest oil of myrrh.” Cosmetics were a large industry in ancient Egypt and they were produced professionally and sold in the market place. The Egyptians had recipes for many modern day toiletries including toothpaste, deodorant, sun cream, cosmetics, and perfume. Toothpaste was originally a power in which a wet wooden brush was dipped. It is possible that this pyxis held such a powder, or some other cosmetic.
Egyptian Pyxis with Concentric Circles
A lathe-turned wooden vessel with flared base and median incised bands. The wood is deep in colour and some areas of the vessel displays natural knots in the wood. The original lid fits perfectly as the craftsman intended. The lid has a gusseted rim and raised central plaque with knob.
Period: Ptolemaic Period
Provenance: From an early 20th century collection.
Condition: Excellent condition; some minor scrapes due to age.