Queens of Egypt and the importance of cosmetics

June 1, 2018

Yesterday, I went to see an amazing exhibition about the Queens of Ancient Egypt at the Pointe-à-Callière museum right next to the Old Port of Montreal. I was so excited to learn more about these powerful women and also their beauty rituals. I wasn't disappointed!

 

First, I saw amazing little pots that were used to contain nourishing creams. In ancient Egypt, it was important to care for one's appearance for both aesthetic and sanitary reasons - even in the afterlife. Soap had not yet been invented, so creams and ointments cleansed, softened, and perfumed skin. Both men & women also used powders as makeup for their faces and bodies. The picture below shows all different pots of cream and ointment spoons. Creams were scented with extracts of flowers or fragrant woods and sometimes diluted with lime juice. The most costly were applied with the little finger.

 

 

 

This elegant box, closed with a string between the knobs, bears an offering formula and its owner's name, a lady Tamit ( "the cat"). It would have been placed in a tomb and contained cosmetics and clothing.