Rectangular palette

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

Findspot: Egypt, Deir el-Ballas, Tomb B 148


Length x width x thickness: 11 x 7.1 x 0.9 cm (4 5/16 x 2 13/16 x 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Cosmetic and medical

This rectangular palette of greywacke is undecorated. A suspension hole is drilled center along the top edge. The flat surface is abraded from use, leaving one concave face. One corner is chipped very slightly. The object is in excellent 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 Ballas, Tomb no. B 148. 1900-1901: excavated by George A. Reisner for the Hearst Egyptian Expedition of the University of California (which became the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition in 1905); by 1947: at Harvard Camp, Giza; 1947: shipped to the MFA from Harvard Camp.
(Accession Date: January 1, 1947)

Credit Line

Brought from Harvard Camp