Palette, 3000-2800 BCE
Early Cycladic I
Greece, Cyclades
1 1/8 × 6 × 3 in. (2.9 × 15.2 × 7.6 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
Gift of Galerie Uraeus
CA 7808

Photo: Paul Hester
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This shallow rectangular dish belongs to the Early Cycladic I period (3000–2800 BCE). It has a convex base and small bored perforations in all four corners for suspension. Such dishes are thought to have functioned as pigment palettes, as some examples have remaining colors (most commonly red ochre) in the center. This palette has differential wear apparent in the more polished surface of the dish’s center near the repaired break, which would occur when grinding pigments. Some palettes have been found with objects that may have been used for grinding. (One such object, CA 7807, is in the Menil Collection but does not belong with this palette, and it is unclear if it was a pestle, a spool, or a weight.) Most palettes from excavated contexts are recovered in graves, but there are some examples known from domestic sites.