The Narmer Palette

By Jacqueline Engel

The Narmer Palette

This is one of the earliest representations of an Egyptian ruler. King Narmer is shown in the symbolic act of unifying the Two Lands of Upper and Lower Egypt.

His name is written in hieroglyphs on both sides of the palette. The king wears a red crown and processes towards two rows of decapitated bodies. The middle is framed by two mythical beasts controlled by men.

At the bottom, Narmer is shown as a wild bull breaking into a walled enclosure and trampling a figure.

From the later Predynastic period, the king was portrayed as a bull or a lion to symbolise his power.

The palette was probably a ritual object made to be offered or used in temple ceremonies.

Dynasty 0 (King Narmer), about 3000 BC, Hierakonpolis (Temple of Horus), green schist, JE 32169

Text and location Egyptian Museum Caïro

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