Birch, Samuel [Hrsg.]
Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities at Alnwick Castle — London, 1880

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Besides the objects of personal adornment, certain vases and things were used
for cosmetics and the adornment of the person. These consisted of small vases
for holding the materials called mestem or stem, stibium or kohl, a sulphuret
of antimony employed to impart additional brilliancy to the eyelids and lashes,
and used by both sexes. It was kept either in small pots or jar-shaped vases
with flat broad circular lips and covers, the receptacle a mere cylindrical exca-
vation in the vase. Sometimes these vases, generally of alabaster or steatite, have
slaves or other persons carved in full relief holding them. At other times they
were made in shape of the god Bes or Bessa, or else in that of a cylinder em-
braced by an ape. Cylinders of alabaster, porcelain, glazed steatite and wood,
were also employed for the same purpose, sometimes two, and at others as
many as four united, holding different coloured cosmetics for the eyelids. The
colour was laid on with a stylus or hair-pin, bulbous at the end employed
for the purpose when dipped into the cylindrical cell or receptacle holding the
stibium. Besides the powders employed for the eyes, of blue, black or brown colour,
and the vases, and styli with which they were laid on, razors, yaq, were in
common use, with thin hatchet-shaped blades and re-curved handles, or else flat
blades, expanded at one end and knife-shaped at the other. These were thin and
sharp, and carried in leather bags. Tweezers were also employed for eradicating
hair, about which the Egyptians were very particular. Mirrors, maa her or un-her,
of oblate disks of bronze, with handles of various materials, were also employed to
view the decoration of the person. The vases used for holding oils, or pomatums,
perfumes and other things in use for the toilet, were of various kinds, and will
be found under their respective divisions. The most remarkable and elegant were
those of alabaster, of small dimension, jar-shaped, or with long pyriform bodies,
others like the kohl vases, and some in shape of the Greek alabastos, opaque

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