Monday, December 6, 2010

Cleopatra's Lipstick

Can you guess what tree is growing in my own backyard that produces a fruit that Cleopatra once allegedly used for lipstick?  

I've written about them before (Pom Pom Blossoms) when the buds were just forming, but now, my little pomegranates babies have all grown up and are about to begin a new journey turning my families lips pink before they travel into their bellies. 

Whether Cleopatra used the pomegranate seed juice for lipstick or not, we know that she must have drank the juice as the many of the trees were planted at Karnak Temple in Egypt 3,500 years ago!(according to Thutmose III, ruler of Egypt). She may have even had decorative items made in their likeness like the gorgeous silver vessel found in Tutankhamun's tomb (see below) and drank the fabled Egyptian pomegranate wine.... Sounds good to me!

I've been fascinated with Egypt since I was a child and was lucky enough to travel there with my family about 20 years ago and wander through the Great Pyramids, Karnak, Valley of the Kings and Abu Simbel.  Now that I'm reading "Cleopatra: A Life" by Stacy Schiff, a fascinating Pulitzer Prize winning biography, it's exciting to actually visualize some of the places Cleopatra traveled to as these famous monuments were still ancient wonder of the world in her time! 

 I just noticed the fabulous necklace in the carving of her above. Hmmmm.  I think I may have some jewelry design ideas here!

On the subject of lipstick and Cleopatra again, I must let you know that I also read that her lipstick was "made from carmine beetles, which when worked with pestle gave a strong red color pigment. This was mixed with ant’s eggs, which provided the base."  I prefer the pomegranate theory but whatever was used way back then was thought to be powerfully enchanting because in 1770, "England’s parliament passed a law against lipstick, stating that women who seduced men into marriage by means of make up could be tried as witches!"

silver pomegranate vessel found in Tutankhaman's tomb

PS.  If any of you witches out there are jones-ing to try pomegranate lipstick like Cleo, you can actually buy an eco-friendly one with pomegranate extract:  
Korres Raspberry Anti-oxidant Liquid Lipstick


Beatnheart said...

One of my other fruit trees as well. Lots of them go to the birds as I just don’t really know what to do with them. Do you juice yours? I can’t possibly eat them all...maybe I should make lipstick? all the best Penny...

Beatnheart said...

oh your so cute! shopping for me...I’ll certainly check this out as this year I must have had well ove a hundred and most of them went to the birds. I planted a peach tree this year and two apple trees. I hope those peaches do as well as the Persimmion...all the best P!

Cobalt Violet said...

Great post and I want to try that lipstick!