Name of Object:

Small bottle for kohl (m’kihla)


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts


Hegira 1003 / AD 1594

Type of object:

Metalwork, cast silver

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

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, 2019.;ISL;dz;Mus01;35;en&id=gold_and_silver

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

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