Heian tomb yields tweezers

by Reiji Yoshida

A makeup kit containing a pair of 17-cm iron scissors and iron tweezers 8.5 cm long has been discovered in the tomb of a woman who lived at the end of the Heian Period (794-1192), archaeologists said recently.

Also found inside the tomb, in Nishiwaki, Hyogo Prefecture, were a clay pot 6 cm in diameter and a 5.7-cm porcelain pot as well as a 9-cm bronze mirror made in China, according to officials of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Archaeology in Harimacho.

“It’s very, very rare to discover ancient makeup implements,” Shiro Yamashita, the museum’s head of public relations said Thursday by phone.

The discovery is particularly precious because “few (historical) materials that tell something about the life of women living outside ancient capitals remain,” Yamashita said.

The makeup kit was found inside the tomb together with other belongings of the woman, whose social status was presumably high.

The woman may have had a close relationship with an influential person who ruled the local area on behalf of a lord who lived in Kyoto, the capital at that time, Yamashita said.