Monday, December 30, 2013

Collectible Kohl Containers

From Wikipedia:

"Kohl (Arabic: كحل‎ kuḥl; Hindi: काजल kājal; Kurdish: کڵە; suRuma; Somali: kuul; Telugu: katuka Katika; Tamil: கண் மை Kan Mai), also known as kol, kehal or kohal in the Arab world, and surma or kajal in South Asia, is a cosmetic typically made by grinding galena (lead sulfide) and other ingredients. It is used predominantly by women, but also some men and children, in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and South Asia to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes.

Kohl has been worn traditionally as far back as the Bronze Age (3500 B.C. onward) by the Egyptians. It was originally used as protection against eye ailments. There was also a belief that darkening around the eyes would protect one from the harsh rays of the sun.

India's oldest caste, the koli, used kohl as a cosmetic. In addition, mothers would apply kohl to their infants' eyes soon after birth. Some did this to "strengthen the child's eyes", and others believed it could prevent the child from being cursed by the evil eye.

Kohl is known by various names in South Asian languages, like sirma or surma in Punjabi, kajal in Hindi and Urdu, kaatuka in Telugu, kan mai in Tamil and kaadige in Kannada. In India, it is used by women as a type of eyeliner that is put around the edge of the eyes. Even now in southern rural India, especially in Kerala, women of the household prepare the kajal. This home-made kajal is used even for infants. Local tradition considers it to be a very good coolant for the eyes and believes that it "protects the eyesight and vision from the sun".

In Punjabi culture, sirma or surma is a traditional ceremonial dye, which predominantly men of the Punjab wear around their eyes on special social or religious occasions. It is usually applied by the wife or the mother of the male.

Some women also add a dot of kajal on the left side of the foreheads or under the right ear of babies and children, to protect them from 'buri nazar'. 'Buri nazar' literally means 'bad glance' and is comparable to the 'evil eye', although it can be interpreted as ill-wishes of people or even lustful eyes, in the sense of men ogling women."

For thousands of years, kohl has been housed in various containers. The ancient Egyptians put their kohl in containers made up of glass, ivory, hollowed reeds, faience, pottery, gold, silver and bronze. Many of these containers are tube like in design and have long stick like applicators. These are the precursors to modern day mascara tubes.

 Many kohl preparations were extensive. The cosmetic material had to be powdered on a palette and then this powder mixed with a substance, (analysis indicates that these were usually ointments derived from animal fat) to make the powder adhere to the eye. Eye makeup equipment (palettes, grinders, applicators) has been found among the earliest burials of the pre-dynastic period and seem to have been essential items for the afterlife.

Eye make up provided psychic protection as well. The Egyptian word for eye-palette seems to derive from their word for "protect." An unadorned and thus unprotected eye was believed vulnerable to the Evil Eye. Outlining the eyes thus became a personal protective amulet drawn right upon the skin; an amulet that once applied could not be lost or misplaced.


The Egyptians used two types of eye makeup:

Udju was made from green malachite (green ore of copper) from Sinai. Sinai and its mines were considered under the spiritual dominion of Hathor, ancient goddess of beauty, joy, love and women. She bore the epithet "Lady of Malachite."

Mesdemet, a dark gray ore of lead, was derived from either stibnite (antimony sulphide) or, more typically, galena (lead sulphide.) Galena was found around Aswan and on the Red Sea Coast. It was also among the materials brought back by Pharaoh Hatshepsut's famed expedition to Punt and was given in tribute by Asiatic nomads.

Kohl is applied using a stick, moistened first in rosewater or olive oil, then placed inside the tube and twist it in the kohl until the makeup adheres to the stick. Then give it a little shake or a tiny flick of the wrist so that the excess falls off. Place the kohl stick in the inner corner of your eye. Close your eyes (lightly- don't squish them shut- you'll distort the line)

Gently draw the stick outwards, between your closed lids: the kohl will leave a smudgy line on both the upper and lower eyelids. If done correctly, this will not hurt. Please note that a genuine kohl stick should have a slightly rounded bulbous end, kind of like a polished wooden q-tip.

Today you can find beautiful kohl containers made up of pewter or brass with ornate pierced tops, these are called mukhallahs or makhallas, people mistake these for perfume bottles.

 Also you can find the pendant type of kohl containers which some people mistake as antique Victorian chatelaine perfumes, but they arent, most date to the 1960s-1970s and are even still made today. These are made in the Middle East, Pakistan and India.



An 1904 newspaper article describes what ancient women wore as cosmetics:

PAINT AND POWDER.
"Paint and powder have been used for toilet purposes from time immemorial, and it is. believed that cosmetics were better understood in the days, of ancient Egypt than they are even to-day, A professor of a German University, in his researches among Egyptian mummies some years ago, discovered, we are told, certain cosmetics used by the ladies of fashion in the land of the Pharaohs in the time of Princess Aft.entombed and embalmed some 3,400 years ago. 
The beauties of to-day are not, perhaps, much- in advance of Cleopatra, after all, in their manner of making up. One who has made deep- researched into the subject has recorded that - ' the Egyptians were very cleanly in their habits, and after their baths they rubbed themselves with fragrant oils and ointment -compounded by the priests by ingredients - (myrrh, frankincense, etc,) which, for the most part, came from Arabia. An Egyptian beauty was well supplied with cosmetics, and she .knew how .to use. red and white paint for the complexion and kohl, to increase the brilliancy of the eyes? 
Kohl, according to a fashionable hairdresser, is used by English women in fairly large Quantities to-day-by actresses, in particular. It is a powder and applied with a stump. Kohl is, I believe, harmless, and is used by women of the East for protecting their eyes from the fierce glare of the sun. It is less perceptible than greasepaint when applied, and therefore more suitable for day use."

A 1929 newspaper article reads:

WOMEN OF ANCIENT EGYPT SEVEN THOUSAND YEARS OF COSMETICS ADORNED THEMSELVES LIKE FLAPPERS
By C. H. LEVY
 
"Is the lipstick 7,000 years old? Professor Herman Junkers, of the Vienna Academy of Science, has lately found evidence while conducting explorations in the Nile Delta that this venerable antiquity may be an archaeological fact. Although war was waged against the lipstick by philosophers even in pagan times, as well as by priests, monks, and nuns in the Christian era, and while it has continued to be a subject for disparagement even to-day by some medical monitors, the men of ancient Egypt held a much more Interesting point of view. 
Some thousands of years before the Christian era, in a well-to-do Egyptian household one can visualize the male head of the family looking impatiently at his spouse as she applied "just a little lipstick." After waiting for the procedure to be finished, one might hear him say exasperatedly. "I wish you'd hurry up. You promised to lend me that rouge jar, and here you are hogging it again." Amusingly enough, the society man of those days was not averse to beautifying himself, even if he had to take recourse to his wife's dressing table. 
Through the recent discoveries of remains of the neolithic age, it is now established that the art of personal decoration which began at this time and developed steadfastly throughout the ages, was first utilized by men and women of fashion, who not only colored their lips, but also tinted their cheeks to add to the attractiveness of their faces. In ancient Egypt it was considered suitable amusement at a feast for men and women to embellish their faces in each other's presence and then to anoint themselves with their own special unguents and perfumes. But even then, as now, though they might occasionally indulge in the artifices of make-up, the women had major control of the cosmetic market.

Belles of Antiquity
It has taken Egyptologists, archaeologists, and even paleontologists to prove to the curious that primitive women had their perfumes, their hair washes, their face cosmetics, and even their remedies for sunburn, and these not much different in application from the toilet accessories of to-day. Fair skin, for instance, was much admired.  The belles of antiquity used a mixture of white lead to whiten faces and hands. Also they used the juices of the fragrant, freshly plucked lemon as a bleach. Our sun-tanned fad femininity may smile at the partiality of the Egyptians for whitened skin, but the law of opposites held good even then.
 
The women of that civilisation had naturally brown skin, through which natural coloring did not dearly show. If they disdained gardenia-like skin, they enhanced their beauty and achieved artificial highlights by recourse to the rouge pot and the lipstick. Their languishing eyes also received attention. To heighten expressiveness the forerunners of Cleopatra darkened the brows and lashes with kohl. Kohl was made from the residue of charred frankincense and phials of water from the wells of Zem-Zem. 
To-day approximately the same preparation can be obtained at only a slight difference in cost from either the beauty shop or the chemist's. Red hair was no novelty in that far-off age, and evidently no delight either. Some of the female mummies discovered in the Nile Delta are coiffed in smartly made black wigs,which fit snugly over their own natural auburn tresses. 
The art of personal decoration which began at that very remote time and developed steadily throughout the ages was at first quite understandably some what erode. Various kinds of earth and mineral as well as vegetable sub stances were used for securing the colors required to make cosmetics for gilding the lily of feminine loveliness. As the Egyptians progressed from the stone age to that of iron and bronze, the art of cosmetics and perfumes advanced proportionately. 
Homer tells us that at this time they were emphatically a nation of chemists, because they made perfumes after the science of the apothecary. Color was not the only added attraction. Odor was called into requisition. Perfumes and ointments began to fill the vanity cases of the luxurious men and women. Curiously enough, priests and princes, who formed the governing caste, ranked as large consumers. 
Baths and Perfumes 
Baths, being the enviable necessities they are, as any well-traveled person will tell you, were first raised to the rank of luxury by these same Egyptians.The upper classes bathed not only for cleanliness and coolness, but also be cause it was fastidiously enjoyable. Slaves applied perfumed ointments immediately after the dip. Large numbers of jars for holding the ointments have been found, some of them with traces of the unguent still in them. Besides these jars for unguents, there were containers for more subtle niceties.The earlier day Egyptian belles bad small, artistically fashioned flasks for holding their primitive powders and rouges. 
They had paint palettes for blending individual shades of complexions, with finely carved implements for application. There was even a delicate slate tablet with a pebble for grinding the pigment. The larger jars tor holding incense and perfumes were beautifully designed and entirely hand made, as befitted the precious preparations they contained.The tastes of the Egyptians were catered to by predecessors of the modish Paris perfumers of to-day. They cultivated and distilled the flowers and balsams for the various scents, and sent out expeditions to Arabia and even to Southern Africa to gamer the odoriferous shrubs yielding condiments to be placed in smelling bottles worthy of them. 
The Egyptians did not, of course, stop with the confection of paints and perfumes. In the harem of the Pharaoh who reigned as Ramesses II, for instance, were lavished the richest wearing apparel that could be found,dyed in the most gorgeous hues, together with jewels that have been the admiration of our modern world since they were displayed to critical view on opening toe tombs of the Pharaohs."

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