Cylinder sheath of Aspelta

Nubian
Napatan Period, reign of Aspelta
593–568 B.C.


Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Nuri, Pyramid 8 (tomb of Aspelta)

Dimensions

Height: 12.3 cm (4 13/16 in.)

Accession Number

21.340

Medium or Technique

Gold

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Function unknown

Gold, electrum, and gilded silver objects called cylinder sheaths were found in a number of the tombs of the kings and queens of Kush at Nuri in the Sudan, but have not been recorded elsewhere. Each consists of two cylinders, the longer one closed at the base and the shorter having an internal sleeve that fits inside the longer piece. The cylinders are decorated with friezes of uraei and ram’s heads, divine figures, and royal names. Their purpose is unknown; it has been suggested that they held rolled documents, but the open end makes this unlikely.

Provenance

From Nuri, pyramid 8 (tomb of Aspelta). 1916: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.

(Accession date: March 1, 1921)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition