February 20, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Eye Makeup

Ancient Egyptian Eye Makeup
Ancient Egyptian Fashion


Eye paint - Egyptian Eye Makeup is probably the most characteristic of the Egyptian cosmetics. Two colors were popularly used: black and green. The use of these pigments for the eyes dates back as far as the Badarian Period (c.4000BC). Both colors have been found in early graves as fragments or raw material, often in small bags, as stains on palettes or in the prepared state as a dried paste or powder. The prepared eye paint has been found in shells, in segments of hollow reed, wrapped in plant leaves or in small vases. The green pigment s malachite , an oxide of copper.
Ancient Egyptian Eye Makeup
In the Early Period thus was the most popular color, and especially in Old kingdom when it was applied liberally from the eyebrow to the base of the nose . In the Middle Kingdom green eye continued to be used for the brows and corners of the eyes, but by the New Kingdom i had been superseded almost entirely by black. Black eye paint(kohl), which was usually made of galena,a sulphide of lead, was used in the Early Period, but did not come into its own until the late Middle and New Kingdoms.It then continued right through to the Coptic period . By this time, however, soot was the basis of the black pigment.

Both the malachite and galena were ground in a palette and then mixed with either water or gum and water to form a past. It is assumed that before the Middle Kingdom the kohl was applied with the fingers, but at this tome kohl pencils begin to appear. These take the for of slender sticks with a bulbous end. They are made from wood, bronze, hematite, obsidian or glass. Some examples have a spatula end for mixing, or even a tiny spoon. The sticks are frequently attached to containers and act as a means of fastening the lid. In the Predynastic Period and Old Kingdom, eye paint was kept in a variety of different vessels and was probably often mixed just prior to use . During the Middle and early New Kingdoms, however, kohl was almost invariably kept in a small jar or pot of special design with flat bottom, wide rim, tiny mouth and flat, dis-shaped lid. The majority of kohl posts were made out id stone, especially alabaster, but other materials were also used, such as glazed composition, glazed steatite, glass, pottery and wood.

During the New Kingdom, the kohl pot was gradually replaced by a new type of container which was a tube formed of a length of red or a number of lengths bound together. This tubular from was imitated in other materials: wood, ivory, glazed composition, glass and stone . Multiple containers reproducing clusters of reeds became typical, usually in wood or stone.

Ancient Egyptian Kohl Eyeliner
From these basic forms there developed a series of decorative types. A common variety has the form a miniature palm column reproduced in polychrome glass with multicolored decoration. Thees columns also occur in glazed composition and ivory , with the variant design of a papyrus bud column. Squatting or standing monkeys holding kohl tubes appear quite frequently ,as do human figures, either grotesques or young girls. Finally, images of the popular deity Bes figure on a number of containers in stone , glazed composition ivory and wood.

Kohl was certainly used for its cosmetic value, making the eyes appear larger and more luminous, but the green eye paint also had a symbolic meaning, representing the eye of the god Horus, which was a potent amulet Kohl may also have had a prophylactic function , the dark line around the eye stopping the glare of the sun. It was used as the basis for many eye medicines and us included in prescriptions against eye diseases to be found in the medical papyri.

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