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An Egyptian Quartzite Cosmetic Palette, PreDynastic Period ca 3300 - 3100 BC

Early palette finely carved from quartzite, of rectangular form with rounded corners with small triangular tang.  The surface on both sides is polished to a smooth finish, the stone is so thin as to be translucent. 

PreDynastic stone palettes were used on both sides for grinding materials like malachite to make cosmetics such as eye paint using a small polished pebble.  They are found in plain geometric forms, such as this example, as well as stylized animals.  (Reference: Joan Crowfoot Payne, Catalogue of the Pre Dynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Clarendon Press, 1993, pg. 222)

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition with no chips or cracks.  Museum accession number 59.310 applied in black pigment along edge. 

Dimensions: Length 5 inches (12.7 centimeters), Width 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters) 

ProvenanceBearing old museum number. Collection of  Colonel Robert de Rustafjaell F.R.G.S., acquired prior to 1909, p urchased 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.  Robert de Rustafjaell (1876-1943), aka 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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