c. 3500-2950 BC
Overall: 10.5 cm (4 1/8 in.)
Bequest of Elisabeth M. Skala 1989.32
This fish shape is one of the most common for Egyptian cosmetic palettes.
Stone palettes were used for grinding eye paint worn for cosmetic purposes and to protect against sun glare and eye infections. There were two types: green, made from malachite (copper ore), and black, made from galena (lead ore). As funerary items, these ores may have had a deep significance for the deceased as symbols of regeneration and rebirth: the rich soil of the banks of the Nile (black), and the lush vegetation it sustained (green).
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