Tomb paintings, statues, documents and various artefacts such as kohl tubes, unguent jars and a myriad of make-up containers attest to the widespread use of cosmetics and make-up in Ancient Egypt. Whole chapters and books (especially Lise Manniche’s Sacred Luxuries, a book I will quote from in this post) have been written about this subject.
However I will focus on the ritual/magical use of make-up in Ancient Egypt, in particular eyepaint.
Eye make-up for ritual and magical use is present both in magic for the living and magic for the dead (funerary magic) – especially in the preparation of the body during mummification, and is mentioned in the Book of the Dead.
The ancient Egyptians had two type of eyepaints available: green and black. (Interestingly enough, these are both colours with heavy symbolism attached to them.)*
Green eyepaint was made from malachite, a green carbonate of copper which is found…
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