Double bird palette
Naqada I–II, 3850–3300 B.C.
Height x width x thickness: 4.6 x 2.5 x 0.3 cm (1 13/16 x 1 x 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
This greywacke palette is in the form of two stylized bird heads extending from a lower portion that may originally have been shield-shaped, but which is now in rather battered, incomplete condition. The heads are somewhat assymetrically modeled, but form a circular edge on the upper portion potentially meant for the thumb when holding the palette.
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.
Said to be from Naqada. 1903: purchased for the MFA from Mohamed Mohassib, Luxor, Egypt by Albert M. Lythgoe as part of a group (03.1474-03.1490) for £4. Acquired with funds from the Emily Esther Sears Fund. (Accession Date: January 1, 1903)
Emily Esther Sears Fund