Fragment of rectangular palette

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


Findspot: Egypt, Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 482/x

Dimensions

Height x width x thickness: 12.5 x 10 x 1 cm (4 15/16 x 3 15/16 x 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

11.2535

Medium or Technique

Greywacke

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Cosmetic and medical

This fragment is one end of an undecorated rectangular palette of graywake. It is likely that approximately one-third to one-half of the original object is represented by the surviving fragment. One corner is missing. Corners appear to have been slightly rounded (judging from the sole remaining one). The surface of the stone shows some scuffing, though it is unclear if this indicates use.

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 482. 1911: Excavated by the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA by the government of Egypt.
(Accession Date: October 19, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition