© Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “L. Pigorini”

Name of Object:


Name in original language:



Rome, Italy

Holding Institution:

National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography “Luigi Pigorini”

 About MIBACT | National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography “Luigi Pigorini”, Rome

Holding Institution (original language):

Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “Luigi Pigorini”

Date of Object:

Naquada II; excavated in 1902

Inventory Number:

Inv. 65998

Material(s) / Technique(s):



Length 15cm




The cosmetic palette in slate is fish-shaped, as are many other objects found in both men and women’s graves in Egypt. It is linked to the practice of painting bodies with colours, probably for magical belief. The palette comes from a tomb excavated by David Randall-MacIver in 1902, who subsequently donated it to the Pigorini Museum in Rome. Along with the palette were found three clay scale models of ships. As a result of the excavations by W. Petrie and J. De Morgan, who documented the existence of an era preceding the 1st dynasty, Luigi Pigorini, director of the "Museo Preistorico Etnografico e Kircheriano" decided to increase the Egyptian archaeological collection. In 1878 he began to acquire important groups, but the main body of the collection was donated by Randall-MacIver in 1901, after the excavations he carried out on the behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund in the town of el-Amrah, Upper Egypt. Another major purchase — from the Italian Archaeological Mission in Egypt (excavations of Hammamiye) led by Ernesto Schiaparelli, director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin — followed in 1905. The last main acquisition took place in 1913 when the Egyptian objects from Enrico Hillyer Giglioli’s collection entered the museum collection.

Citation of this web page:

Marina Minozzi "Palette" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=object;AWE;it;181;en

Database entry origination:

Prepared by: Marina Minozzi
Copyedited by: Anne Dowell

MWNF Working Number: IT2 039

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