Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor), Body adornment case
Object Type
Implements and utensils, Cosmetic and medical equipment and implements, Tweezers
New Kingdom
Eighteenth Dynasty
Metals/alloys (Copper alloy)
Egypt, Abydos
Number of Elements
Length: 69mm | Width: 9mm | Depth: 6mm

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These copper alloy tweezers date to the Eighteenth Dynasty. They are made from a single piece of metal, and are probably from Abydos. They were gifted to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth by John Bancroft Willans, a subscriber of the Egypt Exploration Fund/Society, who received the object in 1903, and were then subsequently gifted to the Egypt Centre in 1997. This tweezer type with a pinched top originated in the Eighteenth Dynasty (Capel and Markoe 1996, pp. 75–76). Such items were used to remove body and/or facial hair and could have been used by either men or women. It is clear from depictions that for most of ancient Egyptian history Egyptian men were clean shaven. Body hair is rarely shown and was prohibited for priests. It also seems that body hair was considered undesirable for women (Derchain 1975, p. 74). For more information on beauty treatments generally in ancient Egypt, see Manniche (1999). Tweezers were also used during mummification to pull out internal organs (Janot 2000) and were also probably used in medical procedures.


Capel, Anne K. and Glenn E. Markoe (eds) 1996. Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: women in ancient Egypt. New York: Hudson Hills Press, in association with Cincinnati Art Museum. Derchain, Philippe 1975. La perruque et le cristal. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur 2, 55–74. Janot, Francis 2000. Les instruments d'embaumement de l'Égypte ancienne. Bibliothèque d'étude 125. Le Caire: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale. Manniche, Lise 1999. Sacred luxuries: fragrance, aromatherapy, and cosmetics in ancient Egypt. Photographs by Werner Forman. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Last modified: 23 Mar 2022

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