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Hippopotamus Tusk with Carved Head

Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art

On View: Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
This figure’s face includes a long beard and carved ears. The tip of the tusk resembles a tall cap and the lower part suggests a cloaked body, but no details are shown. A hole in the top indicates that the figure was suspended, but its use and meaning are not known.
MEDIUM Hippopotamus ivory
  • Reportedly From: Naqada
  • DATES ca. 4000-3400 B.C.E.
    PERIOD Predynastic Period, Naqada I-early Naqada II
    DIMENSIONS 8 5/8 × 1 5/16 in. (21.9 × 3.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Pre-Dynastic, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 35.1266
    CREDIT LINE Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Hippopotamus Tusk with Carved Head, ca. 4000-3400 B.C.E. Hippopotamus ivory, 8 5/8 × 1 5/16 in. (21.9 × 3.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 35.1266. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.35.1266_erg3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.35.1266_erg3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 10/15/2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Ivory tusk, lower part of cylindrical form, tapering at top to point, carved into head of bearded man surmounted by headdress, pierced for suspension. Ears in relief with details indicated only by incised cross. Large eyes, wide nose. Lip around base of object. Object is hollow to approximately half of total height. Condition: Chip on base, several longitudinal cracks. Back of object is checking, with some flaking. Split through face. General condition sound.
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