Palette, fish - ROM2018_16556_17


Palette, fish

Geography: Excavated at Armant, Egypt
Date: c. 5300-3000 BC
Period: Predynastic Period
14.8 × 9.4 × 0.9 cm
Object number: 935.20.140
Credit Line: Gift Of Sir Robert Mond
On view
Gallery Location:Galleries of Africa: Egypt

Greywacke palettes such as this are among the most commonly found personal possessions in Predynastic graves.  Both men and women owned them.  They were used to grind minerals into a fine powder for use as eye paint. Malachite, an ore of copper was most commonly used for mascara, while galena, an ore of led was the basis for kohl, an eye-liner. Red ochre was used as well, perhaps as rouge or as a foundation for lip-colour.

Fish because of their numerous offspring, were symbols of fertility throughout Egyptian history.  This association may have influenced the choice of shape for this particular palette.

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