Unknown artist, Egyptian
Paint Box, 1302–1070 BCE
Ceramic and pigment cakes
5.8 x 22 x 5.5 cm (2 5/16 x 8 11/16 x 2 3/16 inches)
Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 1997.82
Animal images were used to decorate a range of objects in ancient Egypt. This paint box is unique in being made of ceramic and bearing a sliding lid whose grip is whimsically decorated with a creature resembling a rodent. The hollow well held water to moisten the brush and the cakes of yellow ochre, Egyptian blue, calcium carbonate for white, hematite and some calcium carbonate for red, plain hematite for dark red, and two charcoal blacks. Artists used such pigments to decorate tomb and temple walls and statuary. Only a few of these paint boxes survive from ancient Egypt.