Western Cosmetic Utensils

The Beauty of Make-up Sets

Oct. 1(Sun), 2017- Mar. 11(Sun), 2018

Western cosmetic culture flourished along with other contemporary trends from 18th century Rococo to early 20th century Belle Epoque style. There were boxes to contain ‘face patches,’ artificial beauty marks fashionable in the 18th century, and portable make-up kits to meet the socially advancing woman’s travel needs in the early 20th century. Cosmetic utensils reflect make-up and fashion trends, but also indicate social transitions and changes in women’s lifestyle.
 Women considered beautiful cosmetic utensils to be more than simply practical tools, and they were deeply concerned with and paid close attention to the appearance of such personal furnishings. Cosmetic sets with bottles, powder boxes, mirrors, etc. all decorated in the same design point to the extraordinary importance women felt towards cosmetic utensils.
 This exhibition introduces cosmetic utensils from the Pola Museum of Art collection dating from the 18th century to the 20th century. Along with the Silver Dressing Set with Iris Design, a number of make-up sets that combine functionality and beauty are presented. We hope the exhibition will give visitors a chance to envision the lifestyle of the women who used these beautiful items.


Patch Box with Cupid and Floral Design
18th century


Dressing Case with Coral Inlay
Mid-19th century


Hand Mirror with Floral Micromosaic
Second half of 19th century


Silver Hand Mirror with Bead Design
Late 19th century-Early 20th century


Glass Toilet Set in Louis XVI Style
Second half of 19th century


Silver Dressing Set with Iris Design


Zip-opening Dressing Case with Blue Enamel Decoration