Fragment of rectangular palette

Predynastic Period
Naqada II–III, 3650–2960 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Ihnasya el-Medina (Herakleoplis Magna)


Height x width x thickness: 9.9 x 9 x 1 cm (3 7/8 x 3 9/16 x 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

This object is likely approximately half of a rectangular palette of greywacke. It shows a pronounced depression in the center, perhaps indicative of use. The other half is broken away and missing. There is a slight red stain on the surface. One corner is considerably chipped. No ornamentation or suspension hole is evident.

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 Ihnasya el-Medina (Herakleoplis Magna). 1903-1904: excavated by William Matthew Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund, assigned to the EEF by the Egyptian government; 1905, presented to the MFA by the EEF.
(Accession Date: January 1, 1905)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription