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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Bird-shaped palette

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Hard stone palettes were used to grind malachite (a green copper ore) for eye paint, and were buried as offerings in the graves of both men and women from the end of the Neolithic period. They were usually placed near the head of the deceased, or perhaps suspended on a cord or leather thong...

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Said to be from Naqada. 1903: purchased for the MFA from Mohamed Mohassib, Luxor, Egypt by Albert M. Lythgoe as part of a group (03.1472-03.1473, 03.1495-03.1496, 03.1506) for 12 shillings. Acquired with funds from the Emily Esther Sears Fund. (Accession Date: January 1, 1903)

Credit Line

Emily Esther Sears Fund

Egyptian, Predynastic Period, Naqada I–IIa, 3850–3300 B.C.


Height x width: 14 x 9 cm (5 1/2 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique



The Ancient World


Tools & equipment, Cosmetic and Medical