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Palette with Two Stylized Bird Heads

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

The Egyptians ground galena and mixed it with animal fat to make the eyeliner called kohl. Palettes like this one are known from earliest times in Egypt and were used as a base for the grinding process.
MEDIUM Slate or schist
  • Place Collected: Gebelein, Egypt
  • DATES ca. 3500-3100 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, late Naqada II Period to Naqada III Period
    DIMENSIONS 5 1/16 x 3/8 x 11 5/8 in. (12.9 x 1.0 x 29.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 16.580.126
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Palette with Two Stylized Bird Heads, ca. 3500-3100 B.C.E. Slate or schist, 5 1/16 x 3/8 x 11 5/8 in. (12.9 x 1.0 x 29.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Evangeline Wilbour Blashfield, Theodora Wilbour, and Victor Wilbour honoring the wishes of their mother, Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, as a memorial to their father, Charles Edwin Wilbour, 16.580.126. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE front, 16.580.126_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wedge-shaped slate palette, with rounded corners, slightly blunted tip. Decorated on broad end with two falcon-heads, half of the beak cut out, the remainder marked by deep groove. On both heads a round eye is carved out on each face, and inlaid with perforated flat bead of shell that fills the whole space; its center is filled with some dark paste. Perforated by a string-hole in middle beneath heads; thin. One face flat, the other slightly convex. Brownish grey slate. Condition: Tip battered. One beak broken off and missing, with traces of glue at break. (Wilbour’s sketch shows two heads.) From the surface of adjacent head, on convex face, a thin flake that had been chipped off was glued on again in modern times. Other beak badly battered on both faces. On the flat face at right border, a small flake was chipped off and glued on. Slightly scratched and rubbed.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (87%)
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