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For more images see: Narmer Image Gallery.

Narmer Palette

Narmer Palette.

The Narmer Palette is the famous depiction of Narmer, forming part of the Main Deposit, who is believed be shown unifying the lands of Upper and Lower Egypt, found by James Edward Quibell and his team in 1899 at Abydos.[1] Created entirely from one piece of dark green slate it is now housed in the Cairo Museum.[2]

Palette Contents[]

On one side we see the Pharaoh wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, this side was created for the use of crushing cosmetic powders between the two mythological lion creatures, at the bottom the King is portrayed as a bull breaching the walls of a fortified town. On the other side he is shown wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt where he is using a mace to smite a prison making this the earliest depiction of an 'icon of majesty.' Horus is also depicted holding down a prisoner. On both sides the king is shown barefoot. [2]

Narmer Name

Narmer's name from the Palette

Behind the Pharaoh on both side is his sandal-bearer and possibly also his seal-bearer[2], the early Hieroglyphic inscription behind his name possibly being read as 'servant of the King' and in front of the king is depicted what may be an early Vizier (ṯt) though the full form of the term (ṯ3iti) has not yet developed. Standard-bearers are portrayed with two falcons, Wepwawet with the šdšd device and another with the royal placenta[1], and may affiliate with a district or corps[3]. The King himself is shown wearing a belt upon which hang images of Bat as well as having a bulls tail (later to become a part of the royal regalia) on his belt.[4]

The images of Bat (an early form of Hathor[4]) is depicted on the top of both sides of the palette and are interesting as the deity is shown with human and animal qualities in its face. This is an early form of depiction, before the Egyptians changed them to be represented with a human body but animal head.[1] , and may be watching protectively down on Narmer.[2]


Narmer Label Abydos

Year Label of Narmer

  • Though this is thought by many to show the moment of unification, other says it may be more mythical than anything. However a Year Label of Narmer portrayed as a catfish has been found showing him smiting a bearded captive. Over his head is a Papyrus, a symbol of Lower Egypt and so may symbolize a person or leader of the Lower Land found during spoil-dump sieving from Cemetery B during one of Flinders Petrie's excavations.[1]
  • It is also believed that it may have been placed within a frame so that people could look at it from both sides.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wilkinson, T, A, H. (2001) Early Dynastic Egypt London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Clayton, P.A (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs London: Thames & Hudson.
  3. McDermott, B.(2004) Warfare In Ancient Egypt London: Sutton Publishing Limited.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Tyldesley, J. (2011) Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt Glasgow: Ellipsis Books Limited.