Palette of King Narmer

Palette of King Narmer

Date ca. 3150-3125 BCE

Movement Egyptian | Predynastic

Medium Slate

Dimensions height 25″

Provenance Tomb 100 of Hierakonpolis, Egypt

Housed at Egyptian Museum, Cairo


This piece likely would have been used in the ceremonial painting of a cult statue. It is a perfect example of the Egyptian narrative art form—Narmer’s name is set amongst depictions of the gods in the upper register. Below, Narmer is portrayed in a composite view with an impossible stance as he literally crushes his enemy. Pictographs, like the human-headed papyrus stand and the intertwined beasts, help to clearly illustrate Narmer as the god-king who unified Upper and Lower Egypt to maintain order, or ma’at.