Kohl Container

A work made of glass, blown technique.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of glass, blown technique.

Date:

5th/6th century AD

Artist:

Byzantine; Eastern Mediterranean

About this artwork

Cosmetic Containers
Glass containers were used to store cosmetics, including scented oils and kohl, a mineral compound used to dramatic effect to darken eyelids and eyelashes. Containers for cosmetics were fashioned out of a variety of materials in addition to glass, including metal, ivory, bone, and wood. In his writings, the third-century church father Saint Clement of Alexandria (d. 215) mentions white lead, charcoal, and even the “droppings of crocodiles” as common ingredients for cosmetics, although he must be regarded as a hostile witness at best. Nevertheless, the fact that his writings feature such detail about the use of makeup attests to its ubiquity. Multicompartment kohl containers were formed when a hollow tube of glass was folded in half, thereby creating two tubular containers from one. Over time, the appearance of these vessels became more elaborate and whimsical.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 153

Artist

Byzantine

Title

Kohl Container

Origin

Levant

Date

401 AD–600 AD

Medium

Glass, blown technique

Dimensions

12.3 × 5.5 × 4.5 cm (4 7/8 × 2 1/8 × 1 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number

1947.948

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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