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An Egyptian Schist Palette, Pre-Dynastic  Period, ca. 4500 - 3500 B.C.
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An Egyptian Schist Palette, Pre-Dynastic Period, ca. 4500 - 3500 B.C.

of oval form, carved from dark grey schist; a fine example of the earliest predynastic palettes.  Of small, portable size, it shows areas of wear to both surfaces as a result of grinding materials such as galena and/or malachite using a small polished pebble.  These materials were used by the Egyptians to make cosmetics for eye paint and eye protection. They are found in plain geometric forms, such as this example, as well as stylized animals. Museum number:  59.308 in black ink on one side, together with original Rustafjaell catalogue number: 871. 

Reference: Joan Crowfoot Payne, Catalogue of the Pre Dynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Clarendon Press, 1993, pg. 222)

Published:  Robert de Rustafjaell, F.R.G.S.  "The Stone Age in Egypt, A Record of Recently Discovered Implements and Products of Handicraft of the Archaic Nilotic Races Inhabiting the Thebaid"  NY, William Edward Rudge (1914) page 67 # 

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition with no chips or cracks. Museum accession number 59.30 applied in black pigment along edge. 

Dimensions: Palette Height: 7.62 cm (3 inches)  Width: 5.08 cm (2 inches)  Mounted Height: 10.75 cm (4.25 inches) 

Provenance:   Collection of Colonel Robert de Rustafjaell F.R.G.S., acquired prior to 1909, purchased at one of the Rustafjaell sales held in 1906, 1913 and 1915 by Gustave Maurice Heckscher who then donated to the museum founded by his father; de-accessioned by Heckscher Museum of Art, Long Island, New York, in 2012.   Museum accession number 59.39xx applied in black pigment along edge. 

Robert de Rustafjaell (1876-1943), Robert Fawcus-Smith, was a British collector and author who worked in Egypt as a geologist and mining engineer. After World War I, de Rustafjaell moved to the United States, where he lived under the name Col. Prince Roman Orbeliani. 


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