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CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A small slab of stone for grinding and mixing substances like paint or cosmetics. A series from early Egypt, as that of Narmer, is important since the relief decoration provides valuable evidence on the art and history of the country at the beginning of Dynastic times, c 3000 BC. The term is also used to describe scribal palettes. Cosmetic/ceremonial palettes were usually of siltstone (greywacke) and are found in grave goods as early as Badarian period (c 5500-4000 BC). Scribal palettes, long rectangular pieces of wood or stone (averaging 30 cm long, 6 cm wide), had a shallow central groove or slot to hold reed brushes or pens and circular depressions for cakes of pigment. The order of colors was white, then yellows, reds, blues, to black.

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