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EYE PAINT (Heb. פּוּכְ, H7037, black eye paint, LXX στιμίζω, tinge black with antimony, ἐνχρίω στίβἰ, anoint with antimony; and Heb. כֹּחַ֮, H3947, (verb) to paint eyes, LXX στιβίζομαι to paint one’s eyelids and eyebrows with black). Eye paint, that substance made of mineral or other powder used by women in ancient times for beautifying the eyes.
The terms for eye paint are used only in the OT and only then found in four references: (1)
In the first three examples above the eye painting is connected with women of objectionable character. However, this does not mean that all such use of cosmetics is wrong, for the name of Job’s daughter, as “Horn of Antimony,” or “Keren-happuch” in
Eye paint was used to enhance the beauty of women by “enlarging” (RSV) the eyes (
The material used for the eye paint mentioned in the OT was prob. the powdered minerals galena and/or stibnite; the galena being a lead ore, i.e., lead sulphide PbS, of bluish gray color and metallic luster. The stibnite was an antimony tri-sulphide, Sb2S3 of lead gray color and brilliant luster, a substance which the Romans called stibium. This mineral was listed as a part of Hezekiah’s tribute to Sennacherib in the latter’s annals (ANET, 288). See Cosmetics.
The eye paint powder before mixture with water was kept in a horn (cf.
Bibliography R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, IX (1964), 160-166.