Beautiful Kush

Cosmetic substances and utensils in Egyptian New Kingdom Nubia


Studies of New Kingdom in Nubia have so far mostly concentrated on textual sources. Current research in cemetery and settlement archaeology of Sudan (e.g Amara West, Sai, Tombos) indicate that it is highly necessary to concentrate also on the material culture of this period. At the same time the prevalent colonial interpretative model was shown to be inadequate. This led to attempts to implement other theoretical and methodological perspectives. To this one can count the idea that body and its materiality are crucial for the construction of identity (ethnicity, age, gender, status etc.).

Within this Post Doc Project the use of cosmetic utensils such as kohl-pots, -cases, -sticks, palettes, “cosmetic” spoons, tweezers, “curlers”, “trimmers”, razors, mirrors, and substances during the New Kingdom in Nubia will be compared with their use in Egypt. The goal of this project is to investigate how much did the body care in Nubia change after the Egyptian conquest.

The first phase of the project consists of a one year research stay at OREA Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna (February 2018 – January 2019) within the research group “Material Culture in Egypt and Nubia” and under the supervision of Dr. Bettina Bader.

The second phase of the project (February–June 2019) follows up at the Institute for Egyptology and Coptic Studies, University of Münster, within the research group “Ancient Sudan” under the supervision of Dr. Angelika Lohwasser.