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Thursday April 18, 2024

World's 'oldest' lipstick dug up in Iran's Jiroft district dates back 3,700 year

World's "oldest" lipstick is uncovered by archaeologists in Jiroft district of Kerman province in Iran

By Web Desk
February 26, 2024
A composition of lipstick colours and a modern-day lipstick. — Scientific Reports/Pinterest/File
A composition of lipstick colours and a modern-day lipstick. — Scientific Reports/Pinterest/File

A rare find has been uncovered by archaeologists in the Jiroft district of Kerman province in southeast Iran, which is a crimson lipstick that dates back 3,700 years, possibly the oldest ever discovered. 

This Bronze-Age cosmetic artifact, which was found during the excavation of a looted cemetery, offers a fascinating look into the beauty customs of a bygone era and highlights the sophistication of ancient cultures, according to Times of India.

The lipstick, which was discovered in 2001 along with other antiquities when the Halil River flooded several 3rd millennium BCE graveyards, was displayed in a vial that looked like a modern lipstick tube. 

This antiquated cosmetics found its way to a nearby museum despite being looted by the populace. Made up of a reddish-brown mineral mixture (hematite, manganite, braunite, and small amounts of galena and anglesite), the 3,600-year-old lipstick's colour and waxy texture are very similar to modern lipstick formulas.

According to the study, which was published in Scientific Reports, the owner of the lipstick most likely applied it similarly to how individuals apply lipstick today. Because of its thin design and restricted thickness, the vial could have been easily gripped with a copper or bronze mirror, freeing up one hand to apply lipstick with a brush or other applicator.

Researchers are certain that the lipstick originates from a local Bronze Age society, possibly the ancient Marḫaši, even though the exact provenance is still unknown owing to looting. Nevertheless, it's still unclear who owns the lipstick and whether this suggests that lipstick was invented in ancient Iran.

That being said, the discovery sheds light on the social positions and cosmetics practices of the Bronze Age inhabitants of ancient Iran. Despite this, ladies have been known to wear lip colour since the 12th century BCE. 

The Iranian lipstick on the Turin Papyrus, which was discovered in Egypt, serves as a chronological marker, showing that cosmetics were worn in the early Bronze Age to take on new official duties in regional hierarchies.