Shell of King Sekhemkhet
This original gold cosmetics container in the shape of a scallop was found in the pyramidal complex of the king Sekhemkhet which was built on the model of his predecessor Djoser. For the ancient Egyptians, the plant and animal worlds were an inexhaustible source of decorative themes, particularly in the design of small, everyday objects.
Oils, ointments, and powders used as cosmetics were kept in elaborate containers of various shapes and materials. This shell was made from pure gold and is one of the most outstanding examples to have survived to the modern day; its simplicity is evidence of the refinement and skill of the ancient Egyptian goldsmiths.
Old Kingdom, 3rd Dynasty, ca. 2650 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 92656