Beginning in the Predynastic era, the Egyptians used schist palettes to grind up materials that were used as eye paint. The palettes have geometric, animal, and shield forms and important events were sometimes engraved upon them.
Created for religious purposes, art in the Old Kingdom adopted an idealistic style in general, but allowed more realism for private statuary. These statues, paintings, and reliefs present the best examples of the artistic depth that developed during this period.
Sculpture in the Old Kingdom and the first half of the New Kingdom was known for its traditional idealistic forms and features. The discovery of a number of statues at Tanis, however, surprised art historians by their unusual forms and facial features.