Cosmetics and eroticism
Vessels for ointments, pots of kohol, pallets for preparing cosmetics, etc. are some of the items that demonstrate the attention and care the Egyptians took of their bodies
The attention and care the Egyptians paid to their bodies is clear from the large number of objects and products related to cosmetics that they used. This sense of aesthetics, which was essentially aimed at increasing the attractiveness of men and women, was not totally devoid of a certain sense of eroticism.
The erotic-sexual representations depicted and texts written are not common in Egyptian art and literature, but rather a direct form of mass art. The most explicit examples have no place in what is considered official art, where allusions to this subject were made through graphic metaphors or very subtle plays on words. As was the case with humans, gods were also affected by this power, both in relation to sex as a pleasurable and enjoyable activity and its merely reproductive function.
Bed. Wood and leather. 1st-2nd Dynasties (2920-2649 B.C.).
As well as being an indication of the level of comfort in the homes of the Egyptian elite, the bed was also used as a context related with sexual activity. One sign of this is the feminine figurines lying on a bed that from the New Kingdom onwards would be part of the tomb in order to bring about the regeneration of the deceased. Strips of leather arranged by Jordi Clos.
Mirror with the representation of the gods Osiris, Isis and Neftis. Bronze. Late Period (715-332 B.C.).
Egyptian mirrors have metal surfaces, generally made from copper, bronze or silver. Due to their shape and brightness, they were associated with the Sun. Many of these pieces were given to female divinities for worship purposes.
Headrests. Alabaster (the Middle Kingdom, 2040-1640 B.C.).
There are some objects, such as headrests, that are surprising, and it can even be hard to understand that they were used as pillows to make rest more comfortable. Under the headboard of the headrest there is the representation of two hands open to receive the head.
Recipient of kohol. Alabaster. (The New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, 1550-1307 B.C.).
Ointments, perfumes and paint for the eyes were widely used by the Egyptians. Medical records on papyrus contain long lists of substances used for various purposes (the removal of body odour, hydration of the skin, the treatment of wrinkles and freckles, hair loss prevention, etc.). The product most widely used was kohol (mesdemet in Egyptian).
Erotic figurines. Faience and stone. The Ptolemaic Period (304-30 B.C.).
During the Ptolemaic Period, erotic representations in Egypt were affected by substantial changes. There are abundant figures of men with hypertrophic genitals, either on their own or engaged in sexual activity together. The persons represented could be identified with Harpocrates, the patec dwarf, or sem priests, had roles relating to fertility.