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Cosmetic Vessel (Beaker)

Cosmetic Vessel (Beaker)

c. 1859-1814 BC

Obsidian and gold

Diameter: 4.2 cm (1 5/8 in.); Overall: 4.9 cm (1 15/16 in.); Diameter of base: 2.6 cm (1 in.)

Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1985.107

Description

Both ancient Egyptian men and women loved cosmetics. Unguents, oils, and perfumes made from aromatic plant resins and gums were obtained at great cost from distant lands. The objects identified with cosmetics were given lavish treatment. The luxurious obsidian and gold beaker hints at the precious contents it once held. Others are fanciful in form, such as an ostrich egg. The god Bes, patron god of cosmetics, himself is the subject of a colorful jar. The delicately carved human face and the head of a giraffe decorated elaborate ivory cosmetic spoons.

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