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Cosmetic Jar

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

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


5th-7th century


Byzantine; Syria or Egypt

About this artwork

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.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium




Cosmetic Jar


Syria (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

401 CE–700 CE


Glass, core-formed technique


H.: 5.1 cm (2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore W. and Frances S. Robinson

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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