Egypt in South Africa

Makeup

The Egyptian predilection for the elaborate eye makeup portrayed in modern films had an early beginning. Copper ore, malachite, and lead ore, galena, were ground on cosmetic slate palettes to adorn the eyes of men and women. It probably also had a medicinal effect in helping to ward off flies. The ground powders were stored in small cosmetic jars of stone, and applied to the eyes with a little kohl stick.

The cosmetic palette excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie at Tarkhan. The slate dates from the 1st Dynasty. (c) Iziko Photo Archives.