Name of Object:

Small bottle for kohl (m’kihla)


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts

About National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, Algiers

Date of Object:

Hegira 1003 / AD 1594

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast silver, hammered and incised.


Height 12.5 cm, width 4.2 cm

Period / Dynasty:





This m'kihla consists of a convex base that supports the body, which is in the shape of a vase and which features a floral decoration in the baroque Ottoman style. This vase, endowed with two handles in the form of foliage, can be closed with a lid, which is surmounted by a bird, whose tail is linked to the handles via a small chain.
The two sides of the body, the lid and one of the handles are hallmarked.
This small bottle is used to keep kohl, or antimony sulphide powder, which was used by women to darken the rims of their eyelids with the aid of a merwed (stalk).

View Short Description

This kohl flask consists of a concave base bearing an Ottoman baroque-style vase decorated with floral motifs and stamping, fitted with two foliage-shaped handles. It is closed with a lid crowned by a bird from whose tail hangs a chain that is connected to the handles.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the general government of Algeria (1951–2).

How provenance was established:

This type of m'kihla was used by Algerian women.

Selected bibliography:

Catalogue descriptif et illustré des principaux ouvrages d'or et d'argent de fabrication algérienne, Algiers, 1900.
Eudel, P., Dictionnaire des bijoux de l'Afrique du Nord, Maroc, Algérie, Tripolitaine, Paris, 1906.
Eudel, P., L'orfèvrerie algérienne et tunisienne, Paris, 1902.
Marçais, G., Le musée Stéphane Gsell, musée des antiquités et d'art musulman d'Alger, Algiers, 1950.
Marye, G., Catalogue du Musée national des antiquités algériennes, Algiers, 1899.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Small bottle for kohl (m’kihla)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;ISL;dz;Mus01;35;en

Prepared by: Leila MerabetLeila Merabet

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (spécialité épigraphie arabe), conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, Leila Merabet est chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 62


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

Women | The Private Lives of Muslim Women

MWNF Galleries

Gold and Silver


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