An Early Pre-Dynastic Cosmetic Palette, Egypt, Nagada I ca. 3800-3400BC

rhomboid in form, carved from dark green schist; a fine example of the earliest predynastic palettes.   Of substantial size, it shows areas of wear to the upper surface, as a result of grinding galena or other such mineral, used by the Egyptian as kohl for cosmetic purposes and eye protection. 

For related examples and discussion on style cf: Petrie, WMF "Prehistoric Egypt with Corpus of Prehistoric Pottery and Palettes" (1920) Plate LVIII #91B-P.

Beginning in the Predynastic era, the Egyptians used schist palettes to grind up malachite and galena. These materials were used as eye paint for both health and cosmetic purposes. The palettes have geometric, animal, and shield forms.  Important historical, religious, and mythological events were later engraved upon them. The inscribed palettes were sometimes deposited in temples as ex-votos, which are offerings in fulfillment of a vow. The most important palettes that have been discovered are the Narmer palette and the Libyan palette. 

Condition:  slightly chipped, with usage wear including mild scratching to the central section of both sides; an early number:  D2 marked on one side in ink, intact and in very good condition overall.  An excellent example of such early palettes. With museum quality custom mount.

Dimensions:   Height: 20.32 cm (8 inches), Width: 8.25 cm ( 3.25 inches) (from the center of the palette) 

Provenance:   S.Bono private collection, Chicago, IL, acquired from Medusa Ancient Art, Montreal in.



Sign up today!