Exhibitions: Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity

Ritual Knife

This is the best-preserved and most detailed example of a type of late Predynastic knife with rows of animals on both sides of the handle. There are 227 animals of 19 species covering this handle, and even the sides of its thumb rest (which is placed to be held by a right-handed person). The purpose of such knives and the significance of their decoration are not known. Most known examples seem to have belonged to men of the highest rank, but this example has the added mystery of having been found in an otherwise modest grave.