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Container for Kohl in the Shape of a Palm Column

A work made of glass, core-formed technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass, core-formed technique.


New Kingdom, mid–Dynasty 18 or 19, about 1352–1213 BCE



About this artwork

Glassworking in Egypt appeared suddenly as a fully developed industry under the pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550–1295 BCE) and was probably imported from the older glass centers of the Eastern Mediterranean. During this time glass production was restricted to a handful of workshops producing vessels and objects intended only for the pharaoh and his court. In addition to small glass objects such as beads, amulets, and inlays, the new industry produced a wide variety of glass vessels for unguents, incense, and cosmetics. Particularly popular were vessels like this example made to contain kohl, a black pigment used by both men and women to outline their eyes. The kohl was applied with a thin rod, and the containers were sealed with stoppers made of linen and wax. The shape of this object recalls a palm column, a traditional element of Egyptian architecture. The bright, opaque colors of these early core-formed glass vessels—dark blue, turquoise blue, red, yellow, and white—seem to emulate semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli, turquoise, and jasper. The rarity of these glass works (only some five hundred complete examples are known) indicates that they were precious commodities.


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Arts of Africa


Ancient Egyptian


Container for Kohl in the Shape of a Palm Column




1352 BCE–1213 BCE


Glass, core-formed technique


8.2 × 3.0 × 3.0 cm (3 1/4 × 1 1/8 × 1 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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