Sanchita Balachandran is the Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. She teaches courses related to the identification and analysis of ancient manufacturing techniques of objects, as well as the history, ethics and practice of museum conservation.

Model of a Kitchen Scene

Description Designed to provide sustenance to its deceased owner in the afterlife, this charming model represents four kitchen attendants hard at work. The scene is arranged on a rectangular base that has been fitted together from two planks of wood. In the front, a standing man balances a circular tray on his left shoulder. It […]

Faience amulets

Description These three faience amulets were all likely found in foundation deposits from the mortuary temple of Queen Tawosret in Thebes, who ruled as an independent female monarch at the end of the 19th Dynasty (ca. 1188-1186 BCE). Such deposits were made prior to the consecration of a new building and contained the burial of votive […]

Metal Applicator

  Description This object can be identified as a kohl stick (cosmetic applicator) due to its characteristic shape; one end tapers to a point while the other flares in thickness towards a rounded end that would have been grasped while applying eye-paint. Kohl sticks, which could be made of metal–as is this example–wood, or stone, were used […]

Cosmetic Dish

Description This alabaster cosmetic bowl has a circular base with a flat, rounded rim.  Two duck heads rendered in profile protrude out from the rim, forming a handle. Each head is positioned at a slightly different angle, such that the neck of the rear duck forms a stronger oblique. In this way, the two heads are […]

Triple Kohl Tube

  Description Kohl tubes representing hollow reeds, either singly or in bundles of as many as seven, first became popular during the New Kingdom. These multi-tube examples accommodated the storage of different types of eye-paint, either in different colors (black or green) or for different occasions. For instance, the individual sections of triple kohl tubes […]

Kohl Tube in the Shape of a Palm Column

Description Carved from wood, this elegant kohl tube was designed to store eye-paint. The slender cylindrical container takes its shape from the palm column, an Egyptian architectural element usually rendered in stone. In this example, eight palm fronds rise from an undecorated cylindrical shaft, flaring out slightly at the top of the vessel. At the […]

Cosmetic Box

Description Hemi-cylindrical in shape, this lidded box was created for the storage of cosmetics. The interior of the container is divided into three compartments: one large and the other two half its size. A recess at one of the short ends of the box allows the flat, rectangular lid to be slotted into place. The […]

Head, Possibly a Wig Stand

Description This head, with its subtly modeled facial features, sits atop an elongated neck. A hole drilled into its bottom facilitates its display. The head is covered in a thick layer of plaster, which in turn has been painted a shade of red usually used for the representation of male skin tones in ancient Egyptian […]

Funerary Stela

Description Funerary stelae such as this one enabled those still in the realm of the living to commemorate those that had gone before them, simultaneously providing them with food, drink, and other requirements for the afterlife. This rectangular stela is divided into two registers that are framed by a torus molding with a cavetto cornice […]

Faience model vessels

Description In ancient Egypt a model of something was just as effective as the thing it represented, and Egyptians often opted to include models in their burials rather than full-sized–and perhaps sometimes more expensive–objects. Such models were frequently made of faience, a material which itself had a wide array of symbolic associations. The Egyptian word for […]