Looking Great for Eternity: Egypt's Predynastic Cosmetic Palettes | Rawi: Egypt's Heritage Review
|The Narmer Palette - |
an example of a "commemorative palette"
But certain objects in the museum don't fit - they have a freeness of style quite unlike most objects surrounding you. Almost certainly, these non-conformist pieces will date to the Predynastic Period, a time before Egypt's unification in around 3050 BC, and before the "rules" of Egyptian art were (quite literally) set in stone. Vessels from this time are often decorated with abstract patterns - geometric shapes, great swirls, large circles and semi-circles painted in red. You'll also find smile-shaped boats, their unseen rowers dangling oars vertically from their sides, cabins at their centre, their hulls floating among pyramidal hills and beside stylized goats and ostriches. Graceful figurines, wide-hipped and fingerless, also float into view, their tapering arms raised above their heads like ballerinas, their oval, blank faces expectant of your thoughts.
This article first appeared in print in Rawi: Egypt's Heritage Review, issue 7 (2015). To read the full article, follow the link: Looking Great for Eternity: Egypt's Predynastic Cosmetic Palettes.