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Palette Depicting a Pair of Mud Turtles

Period:
Predynastic, early Naqada II
Date:
ca. 3650–3500 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Greywacke
Dimensions:
h. 15.3 x w. 16 x th. 0.6 cm (6 x 6 5/16 x 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number:
10.176.78
  • Description

    The large mud turtle, Trionyx triunguis, which inhabited the Nile River and its canals, is the subject of many palettes and this one is quite unusual in depicting a pair. The duo may represent a mating pair linking the palette’s imagery to the concept of fertility and therefore regeneration. In the Pharaonic Period, the turtle had a dual reputation, on one hand the animal was connected to chaos and disorder, and on the other, it could be a potent amulet when the turtle’s negative character was used as a protective force. Given the turtle is the subject of an implement for manufacturing pigment for eye paint, a protective interpretation seems fitting.

  • Provenance

    Purchased by the Museum from Mohammed Mohassib, Luxor, 1910.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
544044

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