Palette of King Narmer

Front view of the Eye Palette of King Narmer
Found in the Sanctuary of the falcon god Horus, thought to be father of the pharaoh, this greywacke palette would be used by the king to apply eyeliner. Egyptians wore black eyeliner to help block the sun and put less strain on their eyes, for the same reason football players put black lines on their upper cheeks. King Narmer was the first to unite Upper and Lower Egypt, beginning the first dynasty. In this palette, he's depicted wearing both the white crown of Upper Egypt on this side, and the red crown of Lower Egypt on the flip side. The scene shown in these panels in that of his conquest of Lower Egypt, evident by the papyrus plants in the foreground. Papyrus only grew in Lower Egypt, along the Nile delta.
Photo credit / Diana K. McDonald, Boston College The Great Courses Daily