Rectangular palette

Predynastic Period
Naqada III 3300–2960 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Naga el-Hai (Qena), tomb K 2093


Height x width x thickness: 19 x 8.2 x 1.1 cm (7 1/2 x 3 1/4 x 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

This greywacke palette is shaped as a rectangle with rouned corners and slightly convex short sides. Its outer edges are slightly beveled and have been chipped. Traces of green pigment remain on the active surface and indicate 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.


From Naga el-Hai (Qena), tomb K 2093. 1913: 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: December 4, 1913)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition