Fragments of rectangular palette

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

Findspot: Egypt, Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 2/5


Height x width x thickness: 18.5 x 14.1 x 0.8 cm (7 5/16 x 5 9/16 x 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

These two stone fragments are from an undecorated (judging from the remainder) rectangular palette of greywacke. The pieces join, comprising a little more than two-thirds of the original. The surfaces of the stone are slightly worn, and some areas are stained.

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 Zawyet el-Aryan, Grave Z 2. 1910: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Egypt.
(Accession date: October 19, 1911)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition