Ancient Egyptian Painter Left Behind His Palette and the Paint Has Survived!

Claude J Greengrass

Well-known member
...The artifact, which measures 17.5cm (7 inches) in length, is made out of a single piece of ivory and includes six oval paint wells. The artist’s accessory also has an inscription at one end dating it to the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (ca. 1401-1353 BC)...

...Incredibly, despite its age, the painter’s palette still contains blue, green, brown, yellow, red, and black pigments in the wells.

Full article here.

dating it to the time of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (ca. 1401-1353 BC)...

and you thought oil paint took a long time to dry
Weird. Those pods look machine cut, as does the piece of wood.
It's ivory, stands time better than wood.
I think because we are so used to machined precision, there is a tendency to forget how incredibly precise the handiwork of a really experienced artisan/craftsman can be.
A good example is the silly sewing you see on the clothing in movies that play in the middle ages. In reality needlework was as good as machined in those days, and invisible on the finished piece of clothing.
Elephant ivory is a lovely material to work. It's harder than any hardwood, even lignum vitae, which is used for sculptors' mallets (and was used for some WWII Destroyer bearings). It can't be cut with edge tools; it has to be ground, filed, sanded or scraped. It takes a beautiful polish and can be thinned down to a fantastically delicate tracery and still preserve a crisp edge, as in those insanely complicated Chinese nested puzzle balls. All the nuts and saddles on my guitars were ivory, purchased legally in 1970. Around three years later I decided not to buy any more. Better to let the elephants keep their teeth. If somebody overseas wanted to buy one of mine that happened to be up for resale,somebody would have to replace the originals with bone or mammoth ivory.

Unfortunately there is still a huge black market for elephant ivory in Asia.
We moved too soon, a couple of years after we moved from our previous place, the neighbouring farm, to where we live now a dead sperm whale washed up there. The carcass rotted away astonishingly quick, and they found quite a few big teeth on the beach. Ethical ivory....
We have a collection of whale teeth--my sweetie bought them in the Azores many moons ago, when whaling from longboats with hand held harpoons was still legal. They're legal to possess and sell within state borders, but that's all. Never did anything with them. Hippo ivory is still legal but I never bought any; the enamel is so hard it will ruin a bandsaw blade in seconds. I also have some boar tusk, used one as a base for this feather I carved for a friend, gone now, maybe fourteen years ago.


I understand that right; you carved the feather! Very impressive (and beautiful).
Hey Musket - Boy ! I sure would like to see some of your works like this in person.
Thanks, Trier. There are people who are much better at carving feathers, but I'm not unhappy with this one, the only one I ever did.