Corpus of Labels


CORPUS of Inscriptions on
Stone Vessels


Gerzeh Palette with Hathor or Bat motif (photo courtesy J. de la Torre & T. Soria)

Gerzeh palette ('Hathor', Cow-head palette)

Cairo Mus. 34173
Gerzeh tomb 59 (S.D. 47-77)
Naqada IIc-d1

Petrie, The Labyrinth, Gerzeh and Mazguneh pl. VI,7 (also see the related notebook and tomb-card published on CD-rom)
Vandier, Manuel I, 443-444, fig. 297
Petrie, Ceremonial Slate Palettes pl.B5
Arkell, JEA 41, 1955, 125-126 (cf. Quibell-Green, Hierakonpolis II, pl. 59, nr.5 on porphiry vessel fragment)
Arkell, JEA 44, 1958, 5-11 (Hathor bowl) (cf. S. Yeivin, in: JNES 27, 1968/ 37-50, pl. IA, fig. 3 on a sherd from Tel Erani)
Murray, JEA 42, 1956, 86ff., pl. VI,2
Weill, Ire Dynastie II p. 225 (drawing p. 224)
Asselberghs, Chaos en Beheersing ... fig. 118
Kaiser, M.D.A.I.K. 46, 1990 p. 296 (cf. seal impression from Abydos U-210, Hartung: MDAIK 54, 1998, 200f., nr.22).
S. Hendrickx, Bovines in Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic Iconography, in: F. Hassan (ed.), Drought, Food and Culture..., 2002, 275-318.
- Updated bibliographical reference:
"Er ist ein Liebling der Frauen" (P. Kaplony) Ägypten und Levante 13, 2003, 107-126 (esp. 119f.).

[The color photo of the Gerzeh palette above has been kindly provided by Juan de la Torre and Teresa Soria © EGIPTOMANIA.COM ].

*** *** ***Palette UC 4749 (Naqada t. 1422)

NOTES on Gerzeh tomb 59 contents:
- The tomb contained R-ware type 66A (SD 42-77) and 76P (SD 47-78) [cf. Tomb-cards on microfiches/ CD-rom].
- Roughly similar palettes shapes (Petrie, Predyn. Corpus, type 87) are known from Tarkhan (SD 77) although it can be fairly believed that simple geometrical shapes must have had a longer development. Palette Pred.Corpus type 86 is known from Tarkhan (SD 78) as well as from Naqada 1255 (Ashmolean Mus. 1895.834) dated to Naqada II (J. Crowfoot-Payne, Catalogue, 1993, 226, cat. nr. 1858). Type 87B is SD 58-69. Even more similar to the Gerzeh t. 59 Hathor/Bat palette, is the shape of Predyn.Corpus type 87H (yet less rounded at the top) known from Tarkhan t. 973 (SD 77) and from Naqada tomb 1422 (= palette in London, UC 4749, see figure on the right >) which is however hard to date, due to lack of pottery known from it; cf. Baumgartel, 1970, pl. 42).
- The Gerzeh palette relief seems to belong to the same decorative trend as the British Museum 35501 "Min-palette" from el-Amrah tomb B62 (dated with good reliability to Naqada IId1: cf. Crowfoot-Payne, Catalog, p. 287).
The palette might also be older than the other objects in Gerzeh tomb 59, though hardly earlier than Naqada IIC.

The image from: S. Hendrickx and R. Friedman seem to prefer a date for the Gerzeh palette (and tomb 59) "more likely towards the end rather than the beginning of this [i.e. Naqada IIC-IIIC1] time period", in GM 196, 2003, 96, n.1.
Anyway Hendrickx has informed me that the statement above was erroneously inverted: the probable date is Naqada IID2 in his opinion (pers. comm.; cf. id., Visual representation and state development in Egypt, i.p., 2008, n. 23).

For the "Hathor/Bat" motif on other objects see the references in the image below and above all: S. Hendrickx, op. cit. 2002, p. 310, Appendix H.
It has been recently found incised on a P-ware bowl sherd (more correctly an ostracon, for the incised on both its faces seem to have been scratched after the jar was broken) from Hierakonpolis loc. HK 29A in a context which is hard to precisely date, but probably late Naqada II or early Naqada III (cf. Hendrickx, Friedman, in: GM 196, 2003, 95ff., and fig. 2; S. Hendrickx, R. Friedman, Chaos and order: A predynastic "Ostracon" from HK29A, in: Nekhen News 15, 2003, 8-9; photo of one side of the ostrakon: Web-Link).
Also see the potmark in B. Adams, Predynastic Egypt, 1988, 50, fig. 30 i (from Naqada) for a similar bovine-motif.

The Hathor/Bat motif on other predynastic objects

The Saddle Bill or Jabiru stork (Ephippiorinchus senegalensis) is also known on decorated knife handles and other carved objects (Abu Zeidan t. 32/Brooklyn Knife handle; Carnarvon Handle (flat side, line 1); Davis comb (line 2, both sides); Seyala mace-handle... See them all here: GALLERY 7.1. Early in the 1st Dynasty it appears represented on a label of Djer, perching on the tail of the Nar-fish-god (mummy or statue) carried in a procession.

F. Raffaele
(Nov. 21, 2003)

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