Neo-Sumerian Alabaster Kohl Pot with Lions


A delicate Neo-Sumerian alabaster kohl pot decorated with a frieze of parading lions. It features a small globular body tapering to a short neck with an everted rim. It presents a curved, convex base and the alabaster is a pleasing cream shade. The inside is polished smooth and has been carefully rendered by the craftsman. On the upper body, two naturalistically engraved lions are presented in low relief, depicted in a recumbent gesture, extending their forepaws ahead and balancing their weight on tucked hind legs. Their smooth body contour and muscular physique are conveyed in confident unbroken incisions. The two lions are presented in symmetrical composition; their prominent facial features are clearly carved, with curved incisions further embellishing their heads and representing their mane.

Date: Circa 2300 - 2000 BC
Provenance: London and Geneva collection formed pre 1988
Condition: Excellent Condition, small chip on rim

In stock

SKU: SM-16 Category: Tags: , ,

In Ancient Sumner and Egypt, everyone (including women, men, and children) wore kohl eyeliner, and vessels of this kind were used to store it. Kohl dates back to circa 3500 BC and is composed of finely ground galena mixed with water or animal fat to create a paste. Sometimes other additives such as finely powdered herbs, pearls and soot were added to produce a darker coloured kohl. This was worn to protect the eyes from disease, as it was considered to have disaffecting and fly-deterring properties, and ward off the evil eye; which was founded in the belief that some people could incite harm to others through simply glancing at them. Ancient people also wore kohl to protect their eyes from the harsh glare of the sun common in the deserts of Sumner.

Numerous stone kohl jars have been discovered from the sanctuary temple of the Goddess Inanna. The close association between the cult of the goddess and the kohl jar is based on the literature texts recording the attractive black eye of the goddess Inanna after she painted her eyes with kohl. Stone kohl jars, with naturalistic images of lions bulls and floral patterns were mainly used as a dedication to Inanna within Mesopotamian cultures.

Weight 29.5 g
Dimensions L 3.5 x W 3.5 x H 3.5 cm



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