Head cone

Head cones, also known as perfume cones or wax cones were a type of conical ornament worn atop the head in ancient Egypt. They are often depicted on paintings and bas-reliefs of the era, but were not found as archaeological evidence until 2019.[1][2]

Painting of the 13th century BCE showing women in ceremonial attire, one at least wearing a perfume cone.


Perfume cones were presumably made of a mixture of oils, resins and fat, and containing myrrh. Images of the era show people wearing them on wigs or on shaved heads. The slow melting of the cones due to bodily heat would have spread the fragrance.[3]


The first known depiction of the perfume cones dates from the reign of Hatshepsut, in scenes of banquet or funeral. From then on, they are often seen in scenes of worship and funerals. From the Third Intermediate Period, their depiction is limited to scene of worship.

The shape of the cones varies over the 18th and 19th Dynasties, which constitutes an aid for dating the works. From the 20th Dynasty onwards, the depiction of the cones becomes schematic.[4]

Notes and referencesEdit


  1. ^ "New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Were Real". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  2. ^ "Ancient Egyptian 'head cone mystery' solved by archaeologists". History. 2019-12-11. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  3. ^ Rainer Hannig, p.258
  4. ^ Monika Silke Randl


  • Rainer Hannig: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch: (2800-950 v. Chr.). von Zabern, Mainz 2006, ISBN 3-8053-1771-9, p. 258.
  • Monika Silke Randl: Die Entwicklung der Salbkegel im Flachbild. Diplomarbeit, Universität Wien 2008