Corpus of Labels


CORPUS of Inscriptions on
Stone Vessels


Corpus of Egyptian Late Predynastic Palettes

by Francesco Raffaele




Groupings, datation, iconographical and typological analysis
(in preparation)

Click on the images when they appear ...
The images are not to scale and not in a strict chronological order

Naqada I palettes >
4 palettes of Naqada I period at University College, London
Hippopotamus hunt palette
Elephant palette (Amratian-Early Gerzean)
3 Late Naqada I (-early II) palettes
Rhomboidal palette with Scorpion relief (Late Naqada I - mid Naqada II ?)

Naqada II palettes

Turtles page (Berlin Ägypt. Mus. 10595 palette) Naqada I-II

Barbary goat palette, British Museum EA20910 (Naqada Ic-IIa)
Ram palette in Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1895.855)
Ashmolean Mus., Oxford 1895.841 (Naqada IIb)
Two Ibex UC palette (Naqada I-II)
Anchor or Double Bird "Pelta" Palette

El Ahaiwah Canid palette
Desert Donkey (uncertain date)
British Museum palette (Naqada IIc)
Gerzeh palette (Naqada IId)
Ostrichs palette / Manchester pal.  (Naqada IId2)
Min palette / El Amrah pal.  (Naqada IId1)
Barbier-Muller Mus.  palette (Naqada IId)
Naqada III
palettes >>>

Hartebeest fragment UC London (Naqada IId-IIIc)
Kilchberg collection
Ibis palette (Naqada IIIa-b) Brussels, MRAH E6168
Trussed goose palette (Uncertain date)
Min Antelope palette (Naqada IId-IIIc)
Bird palette in Louvre Museum (Naqada IId-IIIc)

Wien decorated fish-shaped palette (Naqada IIIa-c)
Michailidis palette fragment
Four dogs palette (Louvre pal.)
Brussels palette fragment (Donkey palette)
Oxford (Minor) Hierakonpolis palette (Dogs  or Ashmolean palette)
Louvre Palette fragment
Munchen fragment with ibexes and lion

Brooklyn palette fragment

Hunters palette
Metropolitan M.A. palette
Louvre frag. 2
München Oryx fragment
Munagat palette fragment
Oryx palette (Cairo palette)
Geese palette
Beirut palette fragment (Louvre frag.)
Brooklyn-Cairo fragments
Warrior pelette fragment
Berlin Spiegelberg Prunkpalette
Berlin Prunkpalette 2
Falcon fragment (UC)
Vultures or Battlefield palette
Bull palette (Louvre)
Tehenu palette (Towns or Libyan Booty palette) Cairo
2 Swiss palettes

3 Late Predynastic palettes in Cairo Museum
Tarkhan t. 1579 palette (UC 15841)
Abu 'Umuri palette (unfinished)
Plover palette (Cairo)
Narmer palette Cairo
Sketch fragment of a palette of Narmer (Cairo JdE 72034)
Fragment of palette from Abydos B19 (earlier?)
Hands palette (earlier?)
Ka-shaped decorated palette from Helwan (early Dyn 1)
Neith palette Brussels
*** *** ***
Please, contact me if you have images of Naqada III palettes / fragments not illustrated here


These image-previews are not to scale.

Enter this page to see some of the palettes at their proper scale


The cosmetic slate (schist) palettes are among the commonest artifacts in the Egyptian predynastic tombs.
The material used, often indicated as slate or schist, is more properly the greenish graywacke of the Wadi Hammamat, which may be in turn differentiated with the terms "siltstone" or "mudstone", depending on the micro-grains size of its structure.
Palettes are generally around 20-40 cm in size, with several different shapes known. Larger examples have been also found, whereas the corpora of very small palettes (i.e. less than 5 cm.) should be rather considered in the category of magic amulets.
Their purpose was initially a practical one: they were the solid base on which the kohl, powder for eye protection, was grinded before being applied. Many later examples have also (or rather only) a ceremonial ("commemorative") function, indicating that they were becoming objects distinctive of high social status, maybe gift of the own chiefs to the elite members. Henry G. Fischer (1958, 64-88) suggested that, as for the Late Predynastic ceremonial maceheads, Naqada IIIB decorated palettes were not meant for functional purposes; yet a sacred use, as preparing powders for gods' statues toilet, is also possible. The magical function of their carvings, seems to preannounce the similar purpose of the scenes in the Old Kingdom tombs.
Certainly the very foundations of the Egyptian sculpture are to be found in these objects, some of which are true masterpieces. But also some distinctive ideological traits are evident as well (dualism: cf. Tefnin, 1979), magical power of the representations, order vs. chaos, adoption of the registers/ ground lines, conceptualization of supernatural forces' sphere and further features...
The object of this corpus is the later group of palettes, those called Ceremonial-, Commemorative-, Heraldic animals-, Decorated- palettes, of the Naqada III period (although some earlier Naqada I-II examples are shown).

The earliest examples of shaped palettes (raw, poorly shaped ones have been found already in Palaeolithic contexts) are from Badarian and Amratian periods, when they're simple rectangular or rhombic undecorated objects; incised motives and drawings are occasionally found on some specimens (rarely also in low relief).
Stone palettes have also been found at Merimde Beni Salame, in Lower Egypt and in Sudanese Neolithic (and later) cultures.
The Badarian palettes are generally rectangular as are the latest examples dated to the Early Dynastic period; the Amratian are rhomboidal but the zoomorphic and scutiform (shield-like) types already appear in this phase.
The Gerzean types become more beautiful estethically, with some examples of fine sculpture: their animal shapes may represent birds, fishes, turtles but also some mammals; the zoomorphic semblances only concern the silouhette of these objects, sometimes extending into the plain face with indications of eyes and other isolated body features rendered by incisions or holes. The most frequent shape of the non-zoomorphic examples is roughly shield-like.
In the late Gerzean and protodynastic (Naqada IId, but esp. Naqada IIIa,b) the palettes became more complex with a wider range of subjects and styles displayed. We must assume that the purpose and final destination (temples ?) of the later 'Commemorative' or 'Ceremonial' palettes, was fairly different from the mainly funerary earlier ones.
Most of the decorations show artistic peculiarities, style, animals, gods (?), themes, metaphors, which will rapidly fall into disuse with the beginning of the dynastic period; but some characters, especially in the latest Predynastic examples, will become typical 'trademarks' of the Egyptian pharaonic culture as well.

There are many points from which researchers have approached the study of these artifact:
1) The pure meaning/function of the scenes and the role of their 'actors' (birds, canines, humans, objects, actions) can't be fully comprehended yet; anyway sometimes, particularly in Late Predynastic, their meaning can be understood, and they must be dealt with therefore as sources of primary importance, like is the case of the Palette of Narmer, which has been always -much too historically- interpreted as the proof of the Unification of the Upper and Lower Egypt by that King. Some scholars have advanced new approaches for the interpretation of these objects decorations; if the semiothics and other disciplines could prove to be very useful for our purposes, we must be careful for possible "overinterpretations" of their imaginary, according to principles which belong only to our philosophy and mind.
K.M. Cialowicz has published a valuable book on Zoomorphic and Animal reliefs-palettes; the animal scenes are interpreted as a mixture of narrative and symbolic representations which magically enhance (ritual) hunt.
I think that the same practical function could have been related to the preparation of powders not only for eyes, but also for body paints (which would also have an important role in cynegetic occasions).
Later Naqada IIIB palettes are more focused on the sovereign(ty) and on his violent exploits against enemies; the king is initially symbolized by animals like the Bull, the Lion, a serekh, his own person. This royal program is evidently the one of ritual annihilation of foe, evil and chaos by the king who's symbolically and magically acting according to Maat (irj-Maat).
The generally more accepted theory, is that these objects are mostly symbolic in character, their role an apotropaic and propitiatory one for the victory of the king (symbolizing the state) over the various forces of chaos, evil and disorder, symbolized by wild animals or human enemies. Thus the main intent of the imagery would be that to favour Ma'at (or the basic principles which are later embodied by this concept).
It must be not casual the fact that early graffiti (as on the Stocholm Hippopotamus hunt palette) as well as later developments (Narmer palette) explicitly focus on the practices of annihilation of evil through the visual metaphor of hunting of dangerous animal species and defeat, punishment, mutilation and sacrifice of human enemies' chiefs (or whole ethnic groups).
In my opinion, beyond the symbolic scope, it is evident that palettes representations refer to actual rituals, practices and some might have been even fashioned after important events: yet the apparent narrative character of some palettes should not lead us astray, for the main intent of AE was never to record history or document actual facts, if not as a pure means to strengthen and support the state/kingship through the sympathic magic of images power, which is of key importance and help for Ma'at realization.
Symbolic means of expression and symbolic purposes remain therefore the prime mover and the first scope of such "artifacts", hence the pivotal point from which any attempt to comprehend and reconstruct the details of palettes imagery should start.
These artifacts (i.e. the Ceremonial palettes) were kept in temples (cf. recently, O'Connor, 2002) rather than in tombs, and they were probably not meant for personal use. On the other hand, the hole for suspension in the older palettes suggests that they were carried at the belt or on the breast, thus having a practical and magical function. However there is no representations showning such early palettes as attached to the neck or belt, although I have pointed out a possible exception on the Hunters palette (cf. here).
It is probable that figurative palettes were part of rituals in a similar way as decorated weapons (chiefly ceremonial knives and handles: cf. Whitehouse, in: Adams-Friedman eds., The Followers of Horus, 1992 for ivory representations of standing maces in ritual contexts) did. Thus the value of symbols carved on them (and logically of the whole object in itself) was to prompt the actual success of kings and the supernatural victory of Maat [the old Asselberghs' theory of Chaos and Control (cf. id., 1961), more recently resumed and denominated Containment of Unrule by B. Kemp (1989), and developed by J. Baines (1993, 1995) and S. Hendrickx (1992, 1998, 2006, 2008, i.p.).
It is therefore possible that this leading intent, might be even extended to the early zoomorphic palettes (shaped in animal silhouette) and to other contemporary and later representations of wild fauna on palettes and ivories (handles of knives, maces and other tools) which might all allude to animals as hunt preys (yet in a symbolical sense, quite detached from the sustenance aspect), or as temples/tombs offerings and sacrificial victims of rituals focussed on Kingship celebration and more in general on Control and Order (cf. F. Raffaele, i.p. 2009).

2) Some of their motifs appear to have been influenced by the contemporary Mesopotamian cultures; it has been widely accepted that Mesopotamian - Susian iconography must have been first copied (likely from seals) and then re-elaborated by Egyptian elites' craftsmen at least as early as Naqada IIc. The same foreign influence can be observed, in the same period, with wavy handled (W-class) pottery, initially appeared as imitation of Palestinese handled jars. As for other aspects, the problem of the influences extends to other objects too (i.e. knife handles). However, despite the marginal occurrances of such exotic/foreign motifs, the organization of the scenes, the style and the main characters are purely Egyptian-African heritage.

3) Some scholars (Schott, 1950) have credited palettes as being vehicle of the appearance of the earliest forms of writing. One of the first examples is provided by the Hunters palette, on the upper part of which a Lower Egyptian shrine and a double-protome bovine seem to label the location in which the "narrated event" took place.
It is possible that other earlier palettes did display further symbols conceptually very close to the hieroglyphic script: the "Hathor palette" relief also occurs on contemporary seal impressions (Abydos U-210: MDAIK 54, 200).
However it seems clear that true writing emerged from more practical and secular needs (cf. Abydos cemetery U inscriptions on sealings and wine jars) whereas the imagery presented on palettes is mainly based on symbolic, visual metaphors which only accessorily needed to use more specific/direct sense indicators. On the other hand it must not be undestimated the importance of the symbolism related to the sphere of kingship, which is likely among the earliest contexts in which an abstract concept [royalty, rulership (serekh) or royal names themselves] needed to be conveyed, fixed and sponsored (be it on sacred items as "powerfacts", gravegoods, stelae, tombs- and rock drawings or instead onto objects of more secular nature, connected to the state administration, economy and trade subsystems).

4) The relative chronology of these objects (formerly elaborated by Petrie) may help in dating the tombs in which they are found, through sequence dating and seriations. Indeed the general sequence is very hard to be reconstructed with full confidence. Almost all the Naqada III decorated palettes come from antiquariate clandestine market, thus their original finding-place is unknown. This provokes huge problems to those who attempt to order them within an absolute chronological framework.
As I have said, the Amratian palettes were initially rhomboidal; they soon showed the first traces of incisions (Elephant, Hippo hunt) and edge-decorations; The Gerzean (Naqada II) is the boom period of zoomorphic palettes (fishes, turtles, mammals) and, especially in Naqada IIc-d, of large sized shield-shaped (scutiform) palettes; the late Gerzean and Naqada IIIa-b is also characterised by the development of relief decoration on the surface of the palettes. In this period there is a rapid shift from animal motives (Louvre, Oxford p.) to human scenes (Hunters, Battlefield, Bull, Narmer). Elaborately decorated examples are obviously from very different archaeological contexts and had different functions from the commonest palettes found in the cemeteries: in the Late Predynastic period, parallel to the appropriation of these objects by the royal workshops and artists -which produced some masterpieces-, the palettes found in private tombs show a trend towards standardization and simplification of forms. In the First Dynasty there are only few examples of decorated palettes, and the relevant ideological role of these objects must have started to be accomplished by other objects categories. Roughly contemporarily, the sculpture of stone vases knew its 'golden age' in Dynasty 0 and in most of Dynasty 1, when the most amazingly shaped masterpieces were carved in the hardest stones. Afterwards this industry slowly declined too, and the craftsmen concentrated more on reliefs, stelae and statues.
It must be stressed that, owing to their use and purpose, the Late Predynastic ceremonial palettes were certainly often handed down for generations (held by temples and then by individuals) before ending in a tomb or elsewhere; therefore their chronological aid might be a relative one even when they'd been found in known and undisturbed contexts (see below).

5) Area of origin: contrarily to the simple animal shaped palettes and to the later examples from Hierakonpolis, the decorated palettes of the period Naqada IIIa - IIIb1 with rampant canids, felines, serpopards (except for the Ashmolean pal. from the Main Deposit of Hierakonpolis) have been often hypothesized to be a product of the Delta! It is from there that the Minshat el Ezzat, Munagat and others have been found or bought. This is certainly a biased assumption, and it is more reasonable - though still on speculative grounds- to link their origin to the key-regions where the emergence of the Late Naqada II - Early Naqada III élites took place, thus the Abydos - Naqada - Hierakonpolis regions (the main if not unique source of greywacke, Wadi Hammamat, is located east of the Qena bend, a region controlled by the Naqada and then by the Abydos polities).
Some of those of the palettes of the second group (with human beings) are, except for Narmer palette, from Abydos (or its region).
Given the problem of the lack of archaeological context, not only chronological studies but also attempts to delineate possible local cultural traditions or distinct regional styles (as E. Finkenstaedt has done for C-ware decorations) are seriously hampered.
It is noteworthy that the aspect of the palettes material (and its original place in the eastern Wadi stretching from Koptos to Quseir) has instead received only very limited attention in the published works focussing on the function and decorative program(s) of palettes.

There are about 30 decorated palettes or fragments currently known; any further discovery would be really very important for Egyptology; I want to profit of my site to make an appeal: most of these palettes have been sold by local dealers of antiquities in the last hundred years in the Delta and at Abydos and Luxor. If anyone who's reading this page knows a similar object or fragment, having seen it in some house, private collection or owning it himself, it would be very very important (for me but above all for Egyptology) to inform me about this, even anonymously, and eventually sending me a photo of the object. Thanks. E-MAIL

By the reign of Aha the decorated palette are already disappeared, but rawer pieces will remain in use for the Early Dynastic period; examples from Saqqara Mastabas and from Delta cemeteries attest their survival up to at least the reign of Den. In Lower Egypt Second Dynasty examples are known. These are simple rectangular palettes with curved corners and one or more parallel lines carved along the rim, or, more typically, with no decoration at all.

Contrarily to the Gerzean corpus, only 3 palettes ascribed to Naqada III phases have a known archaeological constexts: Narmer and Oxford (Two Dogs) palettes (from Main Deposit of the Horus temple at Hierakonpolis) and Minshat el Ezzat palette (Middle First Dynasty tomb): but for the nature of the "Main Deposit" and some the chronological considerations made above (point 4; some of these objects certainly were treasure-like, thus being a long time possession of temples or individuals before being eventually buried; and the M.D. cache at HK was certainly definitively closed many centuries after the age of its oldest objects), these three pieces are of limited value to establish relative chronological sequences; nonetheless the occurrance of Narmer's serekh is obviously a fundamental point but, eventually, almost unique: the Metropolitan Museum palette shows an apparently old animals motif (like the Mungat, Louvre palettes) but, unexpectedly, it also displays an anonymous serekh (although the palace facade below the falcon has been discussed by Fischer -cit.- in relation to the sign 'Men' and otherwise by others -see Dynasty 0). Surely the Tehenu, Bull and Battlefield palettes did originally display the rulers' names as well.
The Minshat el Ezzat palette, whether of Naqada IIIB or IIIC date, may be considered a sort of key to interpret the meaning of the motifs of serpopards with intertwined necks and giraffe(s) beside palm tree: both these themes appear onto it with a curious variation: a double circle is framed by the long necks of mythical animals and, more important, the palm is asymmetrically represented on the right side of the palette with only one rampant giraffe (?) feeding at its branches.

The chronological framework presented here is a very indicative one, not aiming to be totally exact.
Cialowicz, e.g., dates (1991) the Louvre palette and the small Spiegelberg fragment in Berlin to the period after the Oxford palette and before the Hunters palette.
A comparative study of the stylistical attributes of the pieces will further clarify their reciprocal relative position.
It's important, in a study of these objects, to start from the comparison of motifs, style and actions [single features of the representations: hollowed eyes for inlaid, animals’ skin folds, facial veins, rendering of bushy tails, of pelt spots, manes; register lines; presence of particular creatures; characters of the general shape: one side carving, rampant animals’ heads, ears or horns sculpted in the round, heads made separately (Munagat), depth of the relief; activities of animals and humans; (proto-) hieroglyphs] of palettes, knife handles, seals and other decorated pieces; another point of departure/comparison is offered by the rare objects found in proper archaeological excavations (Abu Zeidan handle in Brooklyn Mus., U-127 and U-503 handles, and few palettes) which could "anchor" some elements of the palettes corpus in a more certain chronological framework.
Finally, it seems undeniable that their "decipherment", whether a definitive comprehension might be ever possible, can't prescind from the analysis of the themes and elements of the Naqada I and II paintings (on C and D-ware, HK tomb 100 paintings), carvings and even desert rock art: these further means of "artistic" expression did in fact likely use single units of the palettes imagery with the same or similar meaning; furthermore, also the more general purpose of the represented scenes must have probably had similar roots and and comparable intents.

Palettes Sequence (after: W.M.F. Petrie, Diospolis Parva, 1901, pl. 3, bottom left)       Development of Palettes shapes (after Kaiser, Z.A.S. 91, 1964 fig.6)   CLICK  IT

Preh Eg
pl. 43
Preh Eg
pl. 44
pl. 52
pl. 53
pl. 54
pl. 55
pl. 56
pl. 57
pl. 58
pl. 59
Plates after W.M.F. Petrie, Prehistoric Egypt (1920); id., Corpus of Prehistoric Pottery and Palettes (1921)
Note: most of the palettes in the nine tables from Petrie 1920, 1921 are on-line in the UC website.
See this link: - Also visit this page (Digital Egypt):
Cosmetic Palettes
G. Brunton / G. Caton-Thompson, The Badarian Civilisation (1928): Plate XXI (BADARIAN PALETTES), Plate LII (PREDYNASTIC PALETTES)

Chronological Table

Period - years
Phase (Kaiser)
Tombs - Other objects - Rulers
Suggested Sequence
(c. 3900)
Naqada Iabc, IIa
(Abydos tomb U-239)
(Hierakonpolis Loc. 6, tombs 3, 6)

B-, P-, C- class pottery
Rhomboidal palettes, undecorated or with incised drawings; fish-, turtle- shaped p.
(c. 3600)
Naqada IIb
Gebelein painted linen (more likely Ic-IIa)
Decorated Pottery (D-class)
(Naqada tomb 1411, T4)
From rhomboidal shapes to fusiform, with appendices and animal heads on the edge.
More animal-shaped (zoomorph.) palettes
Naqada IIc/d1,2
Wavy handled pottery (W-class).
Hierakonpolis (loc. 33) Painted tomb 100.
Gebelein (?) knife Cairo JdE 34210.
Brooklyn, Carnarvon knife handles (Naqada IId-IIIa)
.(Abydos t. U-q, U-547; knife handle in t. U-503 and fragments from U-127).
Zoomorphous palettes
(fishes, turtles, mammals).
Earliest pal. with relief-decorations:
Ostrich palette
Gerzeh palette
  Min palette
Late Predynastic
(c. 3300)
Naqada IIIa1,2
Best quality ripple-flake flint knives
(Hierakonpolis Loc. 6, tomb 11)
(Abydos tomb U-j) Scorpion (I)?
Louvre palette
Oxford palette
Hunters palette


Naqada IIIb1
(Seyala tomb 137.1; Qustul tomb L24)
Horizon A
Anonymous Serekhs, Double Falcon,
Ny-Hor, Pe-Hor, Hat-Hor, Hedj-Hor; (Iry-Hor)

(Gebel Sheikh Suleiman graffito)
(Hierakonpolis Loc. 6, tomb 10)
Metropolitan Mus. palette
Battlefield (Vultures) palette
Bull palette
Tehenu palette
Plover palette
Narmer Palette
(end of Narmer's reign c.3000)
(c. 3150-3000)
Naqada IIIb2/c1
Horizon B
Tarkhan *Crocodile (?), Hk (?) Scorpion (II),
Iry Hor, Ka, Narmer
(Hierakonpolis Loc. 6, tomb 1)


General Bibliography

Note: Specifical references are under each object page bibliography

G. Steindorff, Eine neu Art Agyptischer Kunst ... Aegyptiaca FS Ebers (1897) p. 121-41
J.E. Quibell, Hierakonpolis. Part I (1900)
F. Legge: P.S.B.A. n. 22 (1900) p. 125-39, 270-1; [P.S.B.A. n. 26 (1904) p. 262-3; n. 28 (1906) p. 87]; n. 31 (1909) p. 204-211, 297-310
J.E. Quibell, F.W. Green, Hierakonpolis. Part II (1902)
J. Capart: Les debuts de l'art en Egypte (1904)
G. Benedite: Monuments et mémoires A.I.B.L. 10 (=Mon. Piot. 10, 1904) p.105-22
J. Capart: Les Palettes en schiste de l'Egypte primitive, Rev. Quest. Scient. 13, 1908 (April), 536-557
T.E. Peet: The Art of Predynastic Period, J.E.A. 2 (1915) p. 88-94

F. Petrie: Ancient Egypt (1917)
F. Petrie: Prehistoric Egypt (1920)
F. Petrie: Prehistoric Egypt. Corpus of Prehistoric pottery and palettes (1921)
A. Scharff: Die Altertumer der Vor- und Fruhzeit Aegyptens (1929, 1931)
H. Kantor: The Final Phase of Predynastic culture - Gerzean or Semainean ? J.N.E.S. 3 (1944) p. 110-136
H. Wild: Choix d'objects pré-pharaoniques appartenent à des collections de Suisse, B.I.F.A.O. 47 (1948) p. 1-58 (p. 39-47, pl. IIa, IIb, IIe)
W.S. Smith: A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom (1949)
S. Schott: Hieroglyphen: Untersuchungen zum Ursprung der Schrift (1950)
J. Vandier: Manuel d' Archaeologie Egyptienne v. I, tome 1, 2 (1952) p. 373 ff., 570 ff.
F. Petrie: Ceremonial Slate Palettes ... H. Petrie - M. Murray (eds.), (1953)
H.G. Fischer: A Fragment of Late Predynastic Egyptian Relief from the Eastern Delta Artibus Asiae 21, 1958, p. 64-88
E. Baumgartel, The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt (1955, 1960) 2 v.
R. Weill: Recherches sur la Ire Dynastie ... B.d.E. 38, 1/2 (1961) esp. vol. 1, p. 172 ff and vol.2, p. 169-274
H. Asselberghs: Chaos en Beheersing: Documenten uit aeneolitisch Egypte (1961)
W. Kaiser: Einige Bemerkungen zur agyptischen Fruhzeit. III. Die Reichseinigung, Z.A.S. 91. 1964/ 86-125, fig.6
W.S. Arnett, The Carved Slate Palettes of Late Predynastic Egypt (Ohio St. Univ. Thesis, 1968)
R.T. Ridley: The Unification of Egypt as Seen through a Study of the Major Knife-Handles, Palettes, Maceheads (1973)
R.M. Boehmer: Orientalische Einflüsse auf verzierten Messergriffen aus dem prädynastischen Ägypten, Arch. Mitteil. Iran, 7, 1974, 15-40
R. Tefnin: Image et histoire. Reflections sur l' usage documentaire de l' image egyptienne C.d.E. 54. 1979, 118-44
A.J. Spencer: Early Dynastic Objects. Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum (1980)
W. Westendorf: Paletten, Schmink-, in: LÄ IV, 1982, 654-656
W. Needler: Predynastic and Archaic Objects in the Brooklyn Museum (1984) p. 319-334
E. Finkenstaedt: Violence and Kingship: The Evidence of the Palettes, Z.A.S. 111. 1984/ 107-10
P. F. Houlian, S.M. Goodman: The Birds of Ancient Egypt, 1986
J. Monnet Saleh: Documents Concernant l'Unification de l' Egypte I. SD 40-Scorpion,
B.I.F.A.O. 86. 1986, 227-38
B. Teissier: Glyptic evidence for a connection between Iran, Syro-Palestine and Egypt in the fourth and third millenia, IRAN 25, 1987, 27-53
B. Williams: Decorated pottery and the art of Naqada III (1988)
J. Boessneck, Die Tierwelt des Alten Ägypten (1988)
J. Baines: Communication and Display: The integration of Early Egyptian Art and Writing, Antiquity 63. 1989
K. Cialowicz: Les palettes égyptiennes aux motifs zoomorphes et sans decorations, 1991 (Studies in Ancient Art and Civilization 3)
K. Cialowicz: Problems de l' interpretation du relief predyn... Motif du palmier et des girafes S.A.A.C. 4, 1992, 7-18
K. Cialowicz: La composition des scenes avec des animaux sur les palettes... S.A.A.C. 5, 1992 p. 7-18
W. Davis: Masking the Blow. The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art (1992)
A.R. Schulman: Narmer and the Unification: A revisionist view, B.E.S. 11. 1992, 79-94
E. Gady: Les ivoires et palettes ornés de l'époque nagadienne, Sorbonne, Paris (1992)
B. Midant-Reynes: Prehistoire de l' Egypte des premiers hommes aux premiers pharaohs (1992) p. 183, 223-229
J. Vercoutter: L'Egypte et la Vallée du Nil. Tome 1 (1992) p. 180-199
J. Vercoutter: Le role des artisans dans la naissance de la civilisation égyptienne, CdE 68, 1993, p. 70-83 (esp. p. 75-76)
J. Crowfoot Payne: Catalogue of the Predynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1993)
W. Davis: Narrativity and the Narmer Palette, in: P.J. Holliday (ed.) Narrative and Event in Ancient Art, 1993, 21(?)-54
J. Baines: Symbolic Roles of Canine Figures on Early Monuments, Archéo-Nil 3, 1993, 57-74
J. Baines: Origins of Egyptian Kingship' in D. O' Connor - D.P. Silverman ed. 'Ancient Egyptian Kingship' (1995)
Stan Hendrickx: Analytical Bibliography of the Prehistory and the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt' 1995 p. 299-00
Karla Kroeper: Minshat Abu Omar -Burials with Palettes, in: J. Spencer ed. Aspects of Early Egypt, 1996 p.70-92
C. Regner: Schminkpaletten. Bonner Sammlung von Aegyptiaca 2, 1996
D. J. Osborn /J. Osbornova: The Mammals of Ancient Egypt, 1998
Les Canidae de la Prehistoire a la Iere Dynastie en Egypte et en Nubie (J.O. Gransard-Desmond) Memoire de Maitrise, Paris 1999 (Corpus 65-77, 96, 99)
S.L. Gosline: Palettes as Early Evidence of Egyptian Writing, GM 169. 1999, 65-72
M. Etienne, À propos des représentations d'enceintes crénelées sur les palettes de l'époque de Nagada III, Archéo-Nil 9, 1999, 149-163
S. Hendrickx: Autruches et flamants- les oiseaux représentés sur la céramique prédynastique ... Decorated, CCdE 1/1, 2000, 21-52
K. Cialowicz: La naissance d' un royaume. L' Egypte dès période prédynastique à la fin de la Ire dynastie, 2001 (p. 176-196)
S. Hendrickx: Bovines in Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic Iconography, in: F. Hassan (ed.), Drought, Food ..., 2002, 275-318
J.O. Gransard-Desmond: Histoire du chien en Egypte, CCdE 3/4, 2002, 51-74
E.C. Köhler: History or Ideology? New Relations on the Narmer Palette and the Nature of Foreign Relations in Pre- and Early Dynastic Egypt,
          in: E.C.M. van den Brink - T.E. Levy (eds.), Egypt and the Levant... 2002, (Chapter 31) 499-513.
J. Kahl, with contributions of M. Bretschneider and B. Kneisler: Fruhagyptisches Worterbuch, vol. 1, Harrassowitz, 2002

D. O'Connor: Context, Function and Program: Understanding Ceremonial Slate Palettes. JARCE 39, 2002, 5-25
F. Raffaele: Dynasty 0, in: S. Bickel - A. Loprieno (eds.), Basel Egyptology Prize 1, Aegyptiaca Helvetica 17, 2003, 99-141
B. Midant-Reynes, Aux origines de l'Egypte, 2003, 336ff., 347-58
L.D. Morenz, Bild-Buchstaben und symbolische Zeichen. Die Herausbildung der Schrift in der hohen Kultur Altägyptens, Fribourg/Göttingen, 2004
W. Westendorf, Die frühzeitliche Prunkpaletten - Die Deutung ihrer kosmischen Darstellungen und das Weiterleben der Motive in geschichtlicher Zeit, in: Moers, Behlmer,          Demuss, Widmaier (eds.), jn.t dr.w Festschrift für Friedrich Junge, Bd. II, Göttingen, p. 713-727
S. Hendrickx, The d
og, the Lycaon pictus and order over chaos in Predynastic Egypt, in: Kroeper et al., (eds.), Archaeology of Early Northeastern Africa, 2006, 723-749
A. Stevenson, The material significance of Predynastic and Early Dynastic palettes, in: Mairs, Stevenson (eds.), Current research in Egyptology 2005. Oxford, 2007, 148-162
N. Baudel, Tegumentary paint and cosmetic palettes in Predynastic Egypt. Impact of those artefacts on the birth of the monarchy, in: Midant Reynes et al. (eds.), Egypt at... 2008
S. Hendrickx, Visual representation and State development in Egypt, in press, 2008 ...

S. Hendrickx - M. Eyckerman, Decorated rhomboidal palettes from Predynastic Egypt in the Royal Museums for Art and History at Brussels, in prep., 2008
A. Stevenson, Palettes, in: UCLA Encuclopedia of Egyptology (UEE) [on-line paper: ]
August, 2009

- Links to other web-sites with palettes: Digital Egypt - Ancient Egypt: An Introduction - Cairo Museum (

© Francesco Raffaele