This decorated rock crystal container is undoubtedly of Fatimid origin, that is, it was produced in Egypt, between the tenth and eleventh centuries. It ended up in the hands of a woman from Al-Andalus thanks to international trade. It may have contained kohl, which along with “alheña” (or henna), which was one of Andalusian women’s favorite body decorations. Kohl is used as a dark ink to dye the rims of the eyelids and the eyebrows. In addition to protecting against ophthalmological diseases, its use was extended to female standards of beauty. Women ended up drawing dots on their faces, much like tattoos, with this product. The transparency of the crystal of the container contrasted with the dark powder held inside, producing an esthetically pleasing effect. As occurs with most Muslim objects, the surface is decorated with an inscription that reads “Blessing of God”, and two birds that face each other on opposite sides of the tree of life.
Caring for and embellishing healthy, diseased or even deceased bodies, was traditionally performed more frequently by women than by men in the various medieval cultures, and practically continues to be so in the present.