Disc-shaped palette

Predynastic Period
Naqada III, 3300–2960 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Mesaid, Tomb 6


Height x width x thickness: 10.8 x 9.7 x 0.8 cm (4 1/4 x 3 13/16 x 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

This disc-shaped palette is carved of greywacke. Some ridges left after smoothing create a somewhat uneven surface. The surface is also heavily scratched, but otherwise in good condition.

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.


From Mesaid (Mesa'eed) tomb 6, object 1 [M/6/1]. 1910: Excavated by the Harvard University–Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA by the government of Egypt.
(Accession Date: March 2, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition