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left of the plinth is inscribed:
'Fine eye-paint [for use] every day." On the front of the next tube we have the meaning of which is
that the contents of that tube are to be used from the first month of the season of AKHAT to the fourth month of the same (i.e., from the end of July to the end of November). On the front of the next tube we have
which directs that
the contents of that tube were to be used from the end of November to the end of March, i.e., during the whole of the season of PERT. The inscription on the fourth tube reads:
O, and directs that the contents of that tube were to be used from the end of March to the end of July, i.e., during the whole of the season of SHEMU. Thus we see that the Egyptians found it necessary to use different medicines for the eyes at different seasons of the year, in addition to the medicine that had to be used daily. In the space between the four tubes there is a fifth hole or tube, which probably contained the common medium for applying the medicines to the eyes. The koḥl-stick stood in a small metal holder fastened between the two front tubes. In the example B.M. 2606, which is made of green-glazed steatite, the koḥl-stick was provided with a small hollow between the four tubes. On the outside of the first tube is the name of the scribe Mes,,
and on the outsides of the other three are
“happiness,” and “stability," respectively. In a third example (B.M. 18176) the wooden block containing the four tubes is sunk into a pretty little four-legged stand, inlaid with ivory. Another interesting example of the four-tubed koḥl-pot was formerly in the collection of Lord Grenfell. It was made for the scribe Atef,
and was inscribed with a prayer to Amen-Rã for a "beautiful (or good) life, favour and love for the Ka of the follower of his lord, the scribe Atef,"
f. One tube contained powder for daily use,
the second powder that "opened the eyes,"
opened the eyes,"
the third powder that cleansed (?) the eyes, 25, and the fourth powder that removed rheum from them,.
The example in blue-glazed porcelain (B.M. 2611) suggests that at one period five different kinds of eye-paint were in use, for it has five distinct tubes. Some Egyptians carried their koḥl-tubes about with them, as we see from B.M. 12539, which is a leather bag, about 7 inches long, containing parts of three koḥl-tubes and a stick.
The kohl for daily use was often kept in a small vase or pot made of alabaster, haematite and other hard stones, porcelain, glass, etc. Examples of the rarer kinds of pots are the greenish-blue opaque glass pot and cover decorated with gold rims (B.M. 24391); the haematite pot, with a thick band of gold round the top (B.M. 32151); the purplish-grey marble pot with handles in the form of heads of uraei (B.M. 12753); the pot, made of the same material as the preceding, with handles in the form of dog-headed apes (B.M. 20759); and the almost spherical pot, which has its neck and cover encircled with gold (B.M. 32150). Koḥl-pots in alabaster are very common, and every large collection of Egyptian antiquities contains several examples; the greater number of them appear not to have been used, and must be regarded as votive offerings.
The koḥl-stick with which the stibium was applied to the eyelids was made of wood, bronze, haematite, glass, etc., and the end that was dipped in the powder was pear-shaped and larger than the other. This thick end was moistened with water or scented unguent and then drawn along the eyelid, under the eye, or over the eye. When not in use the stick rested either in its special cavity, or in a metal ring attached to the pot or tube.
The mirror (in Egyptian fänkh-t, or
un-her, ZAA? 8 maa-her, 40
irl (or il), Copt. ¤¡¿^)
was usually made of sheets of copper or very highly refined bronze. Some mirrors are perfectly circular, others are oval, others pearshaped, and others have shapes irregular and abnormal. The pear-shaped bronze mirror B.M. 37176, 10 inches long, has a wooden handle in the form of the god Bes. The massive oval bronze mirror B.M. 2732 is mounted in a wooden handle, which resembles the standard, on which the gods are represented as standing. At the top of the handle, close to the bronze, a figure of the Utchat,, is cut on each side; these were inlaid, but the inlay has fallen out. The massive oval mirror B.M. 38150 is fixed by a peg into a solid bronze handle, which has the shape of a lotus column decorated on each side with the head of Hathor in relief, with the face of a woman and the ears of a cow. Another heavy oval mirror is pegged into a solid bronze lotus-shaped handle, and has a
Spiegelberg, Kopt. Handwörterbuch, p. 24.
figure of the hawk of Horus, , on each side of it (B.M. 32583). A smaller mirror of similar shape, and with a similar handle, rests between two pairs of uraei, one pair on each side (B.M. 20756). In B.M. 20773 the handle is made in the shape of a woman with outspread arms and hands touching the sides of the calix of a lotus. Of special interest is B.M. 29428. The handle of this weighty example terminates in a head of Hathor on each side. The goddess's face is that of a woman with ears showing prominently against the heavy folds of her wig. From the top of her head springs a pair of horns,, and between them rests the disk of copper that forms the mirror proper, The handle of the little mirror B.M. 2733 is made of wood, and is in the form of one of the steering-poles of Horus, . One of the oldest examples of the bronze mirror is B.M. 2736. It is set in a handle of green-glazed steatite, in the form of a lotus column, and is inscribed with the name of Menthuem-hat, the son of Ḥeqab,
It probably dates from the XIIth dynasty. As an example of the inscribed mirror of a late period may be mentioned B.M. 51067. The mirror itself, which is oval and somewhat pear-shaped, is set between a pair of horns, which project from a double-headed hawk of Horus; the handle is of ivory. On the front of the mirror is cut in outline a representation of the shrine of Mut, the lady of heaven. Above the cornice of the shrine is a row of uraei wearing disks,, and beneath it are three winged disks,
; on each
side of the door is a lotus column with uraei, and on each side of the shrine is an Utchat,. The goddess, wearing the crowns of the South and the North, is seated within the shrine, and before
her stands the deceased lady, A, Tuța (?), the daughter of
Her and Aāḥertas, offering a mirror (?). Below this shrine are two lines of hieroglyphs, the general meaning of which seems to be, "The follower of Mut, the Eye of Ra, the Lord of heaven, the Mistress of the gods, made1 this mirror. May she grant life, strength, health, a long life, and a great old age with happiness, to Tuta," etc. The text reads: 1.
Mirror cases were made of bronze and
wood, and the names of their owners were sometimes inscribed on the bronze cases, which were usually circular. Sometimes the
1 I.e., she dedicated this mirror to the shrine of Mut as a votive offering.
wooden cases were made in the form of the solar disk resting on the horizon, or in the form of Q (B.M. 51063). Examples of Coptic mirrors and mirror cases will be found in the Coptic Room in the British Museum (51062-51065).
Tweezers.-Pairs of tweezers, for removing hairs from the face or other parts of the body, were usually made of bronze, the ends being, at times, in the form of human hands; they vary in length from 2 to 6 inches. Impurities or irregularities in the surface of the skin were removed by a strigil, or scraper, but ancient Egyptian examples of the instrument are rare. The iron strigil (B.M. 18181) probably belongs to the Roman Period. Pumice stone also was used for removing excrescences from the skin, and for polishing it. Many examples of hair-pins, and many varieties, are known. They are usually made of wood, bone, ivory, bronze, etc., and vary in length and thickness. The heads are often made of gold, or are decorated with bands of metal, and frequently are in the forms of birds or animals. The greater number of the hair-pins now known belong to a comparatively modern period. The tooth-comb was generally made of wood or bone or ivory, and many examples are known. The back of a comb with a single row of teeth is often carved with serrated edges, and its sides are decorated with ornamental devices of various kinds. Double combs, i.e., combs with two rows of teeth, have the teeth of one row thicker and longer than the other. The large combs that were used for purely decorative purposes and those that were votive offerings terminate in figures of animals in hollow-work. In 1920 a great number of wooden Coptic combs were brought to light in Egypt, and a selection of them is in the British Museum. They vary in length from 7 to 9 inches, and most of them are 3 inches wide; at one end the teeth are fine, and at the other they are coarse. The surface between the rows of teeth in some is ornamented with rows of annules, some large and some small, and in others with designs in fretwork. In one example we have figures of three men and two birds (B.M. 54475), in a second the figure of a horse (?) eating leaves from a tree (B.M. 54478), and in a third the figure of a bird which is probably intended to be a peacock (B.M. 54477). In the last two examples the figures are cut in a sort of sunk panel.
The toilet-box. It is pretty certain that in all periods toiletboxes were placed in the tombs of both men and women of high rank or of official position; these, of course, varied in size according to their contents. The larger boxes were made of wood, either plain or inlaid with designs in porcelain, ebony, ivory, etc., and the smaller ones, which in shape much resemble the modern jewel-case, were made of ivory, ebony and acacia wood. What were the exact contents of such boxes is not known, unfortunately, and the only toilet-box that has come down to us with its contents complete is that of, Tutu, the wife of Ani the scribe (B.M. 24708).
When found the cover was in its place on the box, and was fastened to it by a papyrus cord which was twisted round the knob in front of the box and sealed with a clay seal. The natives who found the box broke the seal and opened the box because they believed that there were gold objects, necklaces, etc., inside it, but they were disappointed. The inside of the box is divided into four compartments by wooden divisions, which are ornamented with red wood and ebony, and these contain (1) a terra-cotta vase, filled with an unguent, or some substance that took the place of soap, for rubbing over the body; (2) two alabaster vases containing unguents, which were probably scented; (3) a large piece of pumice stone to be used in rubbing the skin smooth; (4) a double stibium tube bound with leather and provided with two koḥl-sticks, or "needles," as the Arabs call them, one made of wood and the other of ivory-one tube probably contained a powder that was to be smeared under and over the eyes during the Inundation, when the glare is well-nigh insupportable, and the other a medicinal (mineral?) powder to be used during the season when the air is filled with sand and dust; (5) an ivory comb, with carved back; (6) a bronze "shell" on which the unguents were to be rubbed down and mixed; (7) a pair of gazelle-skin sandals, with turned-up toes-the outer skin has been stained pink; (8) three little cushions made of papyrus stained red. These last may have been used for resting the elbows upon.
It has usually been assumed that the Egyptians had no soap, but in the later period of their history they must have had some good equivalent, for the word
, antchir, is found
in demotic papyri, and the same word occurs in Coptic under the form &лxip, which is generally translated1 by "soap."
Scented oils, pastes, pomades, lip-salve and ḥinnâ. The Egyptians of all classes were greatly addicted to the use of oils and unguents, because the anointing of the body with almost any kind of grease or fat promotes a refreshing feeling of well-being, especially in hot climates. Oil or unguent for anointing the body was almost as necessary for the Egyptians as food, and the myriads of unguent flasks, bottles, jars and vases that have been found in the tombs show they believed that the dead were as much in need of unguents as the living. The so-called cone which we see on the heads of the guests, male and female, at a feast, was a contrivance for holding scented unguent, which, being slowly melted by the heat of the head, ran down over the hair and dripped on to the shoulders, and so gradually made its way over all the upper part of the body. Many tribes in the Eastern Sûdân at the present day place small receptacles containing grease on their heads, and let it melt and run over their shoulders and bodies, in much the same way as the Egyptians did.
1 See Spiegelberg, Kopt. Handwörterbuch, p. 7.