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.
ca. 3800-3400 B.C.E.
Predynastic Period, Naqada I-early Naqada II
Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Archaeological provenance not yet documented, reportedly from Nagade, Egypt; by 1910, acquired by Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing; before 1934, acquired from von Bissing by the Scheurleer Museum, the Hauge, the Netherlands; 1935, purchased from the Scheurleer Museum by the Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth; 1935, purchased from the Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth by the Brooklyn Museum.
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.
Hippopotamus Tusk with Carved Head, ca. 3800-3400 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)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 10/15/2007
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