Double bird palette

Egyptian
Predynastic Period
Naqada I–II, 3850–3300 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Mesaid, Tomb 197

Dimensions

Height x width x thickness: 10 x 6.5 x 0.4 cm (3 15/16 x 2 9/16 x 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

11.228

Medium or Technique

Greywacke

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Cosmetic and medical

Palette of gray stone shaped as double bird motif. One bird’s head broken off and missing; remaining head has drilled eye hole. Central projection/handle is pierced for suspension and is notched on either side for stringing. Two more drilled holes near the rounded base of the object. No evidence of grinding or wear patterns.

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.

For very simlar object see: 11.226a-b.

Provenance

From Mesaid, tomb 197, no. 2 [M/197/2]. 1910: excavated by the Harvard University–Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.
(Accession Date: March 2, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition