Cosmetic Spoon “Swimming Girl Spoon”

Artefact Details

Gallery number: 34 – Upper Floor

Period: New Kingdom

Dynasty: 18th Dynasty (c. 1550- 1069 BC)

Place of Discovery: Fayum Region, Kom Medinet Ghurab (Moeris), Necropolis Area, Tomb 20

Size: H 6.20 cm; D/L 30.50 cm; W 5 cm

Material: Wood (unspecified), pigment (unspecified)

Cosmetic spoons were extremely popular during the New Kingdom. Egyptian craftsmen were able to combine great imagination and technical ability to create such charming household items. These cosmetic spoons were not only part of daily body care and adornment, they can also be interpreted as ritual objects related to various goddesses such as Nut and Hathor.

The handle of this cosmetic spoon depicts a naked young woman swimming with her legs nicely outstretched. The girl is fashioned with a simple wig on her head and a beaded-painted broad collar around her neck. Her arms are also outstretched holding the spoon, formed in a shape of a duck with an opening mouth and wagging tongue. The head of the duck was added separately, while its back is hollowed out to contain the cosmetic powder. The wings of the duck are missing, but were carved separately as a cover to the container, the top of which was originally attached with a peg that allowed it to swing open. It is possible that this piece could have been able to float for amusement.