Narmer Palette, Palette of King Narmer

Egypt is famous for being the birthplace of some of the most beautiful artifacts in the world but one artifact, in particular, is considered to be more than an artifact but an actual piece of history. The Narmer Palette is a ceremonial engraving depicting the first dynasty king Narmer (Menes) defeating his enemies and uniting Upper and Lower Egypt into one kingdom. It also acts as a perfect example of the primitive artistic design of the 31st century BC. The Narmer palette acts as a reminder of the past time when ancient civilizations transformed into kingdoms and empires and seek to construct constructions that would stand the test of time and achieve immortality.

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Narmer Palette Facts

The Narmer Palette is carved of a single piece of smooth grayish-green siltstone on both sides between 3200 BC and 3000 BC. The palette tells the story of the king’s Narmer victory in battle and his unification of Egypt after getting his approval from the holy gods of ancient Egypt. The palette is 63.5 CM (2.2 ft) in height and holds ambiguous scenes of king Menes which was very difficult to explain and interpret their correct meaning for a long time. The main purpose of the artwork is to act as a ritual object dedicated to the gods to show gratitude for this great unification. The palette was used on a daily basis in ancient Egypt for grinding and mixing minerals for cosmetics like dark eyeliner to reduce glare and during certain religious rituals.

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Narmer Palette Description

The Narmer Palette was discovered in 1897 CE by British archaeologists at the temple of Horus in Nekhen. It held many scenes that were regarded as highly symbolic and the evidence to some of the oldest historical events ever. On the verso side of the palette, Narmer is portrayed wearing the red wicker war crown of upper Egypt which indicated that lower Egypt has fallen under his control. The largest engravings on the palette are two men interweaving the serpentine necks of unknown beasts called serpopards, this section of the palette is highly mysterious. At the bottom of the palette is king is shown as a bull breaking through the walls of the city using his horns and trampling his enemies beneath his hooves. There is also a priest wearing a leopard skin following 4 divine standards.

On the other side of the palette the recto side is a one complete cohesive of Narmer with his war gathering about to strike down an enemy captured by the hair and beneath his twp feet are two men either dead or attempting to escape his wrath, plus behind the king there is a bald servant holding his sandals while in front of him is the sky god Horus watching king Narmer’s victory and blessing it by bringing more and more enemy prisoners. Both sides of the palette are decorated at the very top with animal heads like cows and bulls which are associated with the goddess of celebration and joy Hathor that is depicted as a cow or a woman with a cow’s ears and the bull is a symbol of the king’s strength, vigor, and vitality.

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Narmer Palette Symbolism

The level of the symbolism of Narmer palette is incredibly high with the use of different types of imagery which explain why it has been called the first historical document in the world. Most of the images indicate Narmer’s military intelligence and absolute power. The palette was able to confirm that Narmer was the true founder of united Egypt as he is shown wearing the white and red crown on different sides as the crowns indicate geographical significance. It also shows the level of unrest and chaos that spread all over the divided regions of Egypt before Narmer’s unification. The legacy is continued by his son Djoser who constructed the Saqqara step pyramid.

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Narmer Palette

The first Dynasty begins with the legendary Narmer (Menes). The Ancient Egyptians since the New kingdom recorded on their monuments the name Mena as their first King. King Narmer had his tomb at Abydos.

To Narmer is attributed a slate palette of green schist, displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. On both sides of the Palette, the scenes are different in detail but they agree to commemorate the victory of the king over his enemies.

On the first register on both sides, we Find the Name of Narmer(Ncr -mr)written inside the rectangular shape that represents the facade of the palace. On either side of the name, the head of Goddess Hathor exists in the form of a face of a woman with the ears and hones of a Cow.

On the recto side, we see the king standing, wearing the white Crown and holding an enemy from his forehead. This enemy is kneeling in from of the king, he is called wcsw. The king is holding in his right hand a mace- head to mite the enemy with. In front of the king we see God Horus in the Shape of a falcon, controlling an enemy by a rope tied around his nose. The enemy is represented with head projecting from a horizontal bar. From which rise behind the enemy's head six papyrus stems on which is resting the leg of the falcon. Each Stem gives the number 1000.This indicates that God Horus controlled the enemies of the king and he presented 6000 captives among them. Behind the king his sandal bearer holding in one hand a Jar, while in the other hand he is holding the Sandals of the king.

On the last register, we find 2 enemies fleeing each one of them is inscribed his name. On the verso side, On the Second register, we find king Narmer is represented wearing the Red crown. Behind him is his Sandal bearer. In front of the king is another high Official Preceded by the standard -bearers who are carrying 4 emblems at the top of the standards. At the right end of the register, we have 2 rows of enemies, each of whom has his head cut and his hands tied behind the back and his legs twisted to the inside. Except two of them at the beginning of the 1st row who are perhaps the chiefs of enemies. The king is marching in a Procession with his Officials and Standard – bearers of his armiesto view the Captured bodies of his northern enemies.

On the 3rd register, we find two animals with long necks intertwined to from a circle in the middle. Tow attendants are holding these animals by means of ropes to stop them from fighting.

On the 4th register, the king is in the form of a bull attacking a fortress with his hons. The Scenes on this palette commemorate the victory of Narmer in his war and his celebration of that victory over the northerners.

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The Narmer palette is located in the magical Egyptian museum in Cairo where anyone can get the chance to explore its incredible beauty and importance through our Cairo day tours.

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Q- Is Cairo safe to visit? A-There is no FCO advice against travel to Cairo, Alexandria, the tourist areas along the Nile, and the Red Sea resorts of Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada. The section of the country between the Nile and the Red Sea is also considered mostly safe.

Q-What is the best time to visit Cairo? A-The best times to visit Cairo are from March to April and from October to November. These short shoulder seasons welcome comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds and low hotel rates on most days of the weeka.

Q-What city are the pyramids in?A-Cairo, Most pyramids are located near Cairo, with only one royal pyramid being located south of Cairo, at the Abydos temple complex. The pyramid at Abydos, Egypt were commissioned by Ahmose I who founded the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. The building of pyramids began in the Third Dynasty with the reign of King Djoser.

Q-What is there to do in Cairo in 2 days?A- The Great Pyramids of Giza, Visiting the pyramids is a must-do in Cairo, The Great Sphinx of Giza, Sakkara, Memphis, Citadel of Salah el Din, Khan el Khalili Bazaar, Abu Serga, and The Hanging Church.

Q-How much does a trip to Cairo cost?A-The great pyramids and Cairo Museum are a popular combination for a day trip and will cost about $95 per person. A full day tour through Cairo including the Citadel and Khan el Khalili market is approximately $95 per person.

Q-Where is best to stay in Egypt to see the pyramids? A-The Pyramids area is located in Giza – Cairo conurbation, where it features both luxurious hotels, such as the prominent Marriott Mena House Hotel for unforgettable pyramid views from your room, as well as budget-friendly hotels that can be found anywhere near the Giza Plateaue.

Q-How should I dress in Cairo? A-You do not need to cover your head in Egypt, but dress modestly. Wear pants or long skirts. Cairo is hot, so loose fitting pants are going to be more comfortable than a pair of skinny jeans. It is also dusty and dirty, so white clothing will appear soiled far more quickly than clothing of other colors.

Q-Is Luxor worth visiting? A-Luxor and Cairo are exceedingly different places and yes Luxor is well worth visiting. If you want to see iconic sites such as the Valley of the King's and Karnak Temple, then you have no choice.