Egyptian alabaster vessel for kohl, Nw Kingdom, 1550-1070 B.C.

This kohl jar is beautifully sculpted, with sinuous, geometric lines, and retains its own lid. Kohl is a cosmetic made from a mineral called galena, which has a grayish appearance. When ground and mixed with other minerals, it is a kind of ash. This cosmetic was used for two main reasons, in a ritual and ornamental way, women made up, dressed up and wore wigs in rituals, and even on a daily basis. In addition, this mineral has great bactericidal properties, so in addition to protecting the eyes from the sun, it was also used as medication and eye protection. The New Empire began with the reunification of Lower Egypt. It was a period of unprecedented expansion, although marked by the religious crisis of el-Amarna (1364-1347 B.C.). With the 18th dynasty, Egypt achieved hegemony in the sphere of the Ancient Near East. The military successes were supported by the institutional changes demanded by the new reality. Control of the country's resources guaranteed true Egyptian stability. The importance acquired by Thebes during the New Empire, as the capital of Egypt and of its vast Asian and African domains, made the shrine of Amun the main religious and cultural centre of the country.


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