Make-up has been worn since the Protodynastic period of Egypt, the Egyptians had largely influenced the design of Western Asiatic palettes such as this example. Eyeliner (which would have been stored in such vessels) was made from a lead sulphite called ‘galena’ which was first ground up on a palette 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. In western Asiatic culture make-up containers and vessels would often be decorated with zoomorphic designs, usually depicting lion and bull motifs and offered to specific deities. Cosmetic stone containers, vessels and palettes were very commonly found in the temples of the Early Dynastic II – III Period (circa 2700 – 2350 BC) and have been recovered extensively across both Sumerian and Akkadian cultural areas.
Rare Western Asiatic Carved Cosmetic Palette
A fine and rare Western Asiatic palette carved from a smooth brown stone, featuring a rectangular shape with a flat base. To the centre of the palette is a beautifully carved internal recess with an elliptical shape. Slight chips to the palette’s corners.
Provenance: Ex important Mayfair Collection by descent, 1970-1999.
Condition: Fine Condition, minor chips to the corners and signs of wear.