Cosmetic Tube

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Object Name: 
Cosmetic Tube
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 10.4 cm, W: 2 cm, Diam (max): 1.7 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
The small container was most likely used to hold kohl, a cosmetic preparation for darkening the eyelids. The object was formed by applying dark green glass around a mandrel. Trails of opaque red and opaque white glass were then applied and marvered to create the striped and zigzag geometric pattern that encircles the body of the vessel. Finally, the handles and foot were attached. The simple decoration of this object suggest that it was made in the seventh or eighth century. The use of kohl has a very long history. Tomb paintings provide evidence of its use in Egypt, and numerous rod-formed kohl tubes were manufactured in Iran between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C. In Roman times, glassblowers fashioned single-, double-, and even quadruple-chambered kohl tubes, examples of which are found in the Museum's collection. Traditionally, kohl was made of powdered lead sulfide mixed with oil or fat. It was extracted from its narrow container by means of a rod or spoon-shaped applicator. Kohl is still used as a cosmetic today, but because of the risk of lead contamination, modern manufacturers use carbon.
Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd, Source
Primary Description: 
Cosmetic Tube. Opaque very deep green, appearing black, with opaque red and opaque bluish white trails. Rod-formed; applied. Tube: cylindrical. Rim plain, with rounded lip; wall vertical; base shaped like disk, with rounded edge; two small handles applied to upper wall and edge of rim. Wall decorated, from just below rim to base, with seven horizontal bands of trailing, from top to bottom: (1) red trail wound spirally five times around body, (2) white trail wound once around body in continuous zigzag, (3) as (1), (4) as (2), (5) red trail wound spirally 4 1/2 times around body, (6) as (2), and (7) similar to (1), (3), and (5), but number of revolutions is indeterminate.
Islamic Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass Volume Two (2014) illustrated, p. 187-188, #931; BIB# 113723
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2011 (2012) illustrated, p. 8; BIB# AI87745
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2011 (2012) illustrated, p. 25;
Recent Acquisitions: Islamic Glass (2011) illustrated, p. 13, right; BIB# AI86934