Disc-shaped palette

Egyptian
Early Dynastic Period, Dynasty 1
2960–2770 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 144

Dimensions

Diameter x thickness: 11.2 x 0.6 cm (4 7/16 x 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

11.2492

Medium or Technique

Greywacke

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Cosmetic and medical

This is a disc-shaped palette of greywacke. It is decorated with notches around the outer edge, creating a chevron design. No hole for suspension has been drilled. There are two notable chips in the outer edge. The surface of the stone shows significant scratching/scuffing, and some areas are uneven.

Stone palettes are identified particularly with earlier periods of ancient Egyptian history. Non-functional (in the utilitarian sense), often elaborately decorated “ceremonial” examples are known. Often simpler, functional examples were used to grind and mix mineral-based pigments (including ocher, malachite, hematite) that were often mixed with other substances to make cosmetics or other decorative media.

Provenance

From Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 144. 1910-11: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.

(Accession date: October 19, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition