From Egyptian Treasures

The early Egyptian king Narmer (c. 3000 B.C.) marches in procession, in this detail from the front face of the Narmer Palette. The 25-inch-high siltstone palette is a ceremonial version of much smaller palettes used for grinding colorful mineral ore into cosmetic powder. In this detail, the king, identified by the symbols of the catfish and chisel (the initial phonemes of the ancient Egyptian words would have produced the sound “Narmer”), wears the red crown of Lower (northern) Egypt; on the back face of the palette, the king wears the white crown of Upper (southern) Egypt. Some scholars believe Narmer was the king who unified north and south into what would become the magnificent civilization of dynastic Egypt.