Cosmetic spoon

The cosmetic spoon in the shape of a girl swimming with a lotus flower in her hands illustrates the refined taste of the New Kingdom. It is carved of ivory and ebony.

In Egyptology a cosmetic spoon means an ornately shaped vessel for cosmetic paints or aromatic oils that were especially popular during the 18th and 19th dynasties. However, the scientists still argue over the exact purpose of these objects. Some doubt, whether they were just beautiful containers for incense, or had a religious meaning. If the last version is right, the spoons might have contained some sacrificial substances or elements of religious rituals.

Cosmetic spoon in the form of a swimming girl.
Cosmetic spoon in the form of a swimming girl.

The iconography of the spoons is based on the images of women, Nile vegetation, or beautiful gardens.

The vessel is shaped as a pink lotus flower and has a side-shifting lid. An ivory figurine of a swimming girl serves as a handle. The girl’s head is covered with a dark brown wig from ebony. Rectangular ridges on it imitate locks.

The neck is decorated with an engraved necklace from lotus petals, and an ornate belt girds her waist. On the lower part of the thighs there is a schematic image (possibly a tattoo) of the god Bes, the patron of homes and the protector of women and children.

New Kingdom, 18th-19th Dynasty, c.1550–1185 B. C. Ivory, ebony wood, painted. Now in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. I.1.а 3627