HvWO 029I

Antique Omani silver Female silver "kohl pot" with application stick

Antique Omani silver Female silver KOHL POT

Scarce Female silver Kohl pot with arabesque design and application stick. Purpose: the black Kohl was used as makeup by women. Stick is used to apply the Kohl and the pot is used to store it. Children, men and women in Oman wear the cosmetic Kohl round the eye, which gives the (already large) eyes more expression. 

Local believe is that it improves eyesight however in practice many people LOST eyesight due to eye infections by the practice of passing the application stick around from person to person. 

Kohl is paste traditionally made from finely powdered sulphide of antimony mixed with rosewater. However it is also made form wood-ash mixed with vegetable oils and other means. The book by Lane (ref 3) contains detailed information on the use and manufacture of Kohl which is almost identical to that in Oman. Oman Adorned (ref 4)  page 131/133 contains a recipe for Kohl. Weight 90 grams. Container is 4,5cm high including the eye. The application stick is 12 cm long.

Antique Omani silver Kohlpot

Arab Name: Makhalah / Makhal

Period: 1850-1950

Origin: Oman Nizwa (in view of arabesque design)

  1.  The craft heritage of Oman Vol 2 Richardson & Dorr page 448 items 081 and 080
  2. Ruth Hawley Omani Silver Longman 2000 (new edition) p 53
  3. William Lane An account of the manners and customs of the modern Egyptians 1833-1835
  4. Oman Adorned by Pauline Shelton  Robert Richmond / Apex London 1997 p 112
  5. Disappearing treasures of Oman 1998 by Avelyn Foster p96 fig 90
  6. Traditional silver jewelry and handicrafts from Oman 2009 by Jean Greffioz p 138