Ivory inlay of a vulture

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K439


Height x width x depth: 3.4 x 8.4 x 0.2 cm (1 5/16 x 3 5/16 x 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This ivory inlay, cracked into several pieces butmended, depicts a vulture with one wing outstretched behind its body, one tucked. Of the type with only one wing (right) stretched behind body. The main breaks include the head (separated entirely) and two near the center. Wide, notched incisions have been used to rough out details such as feathers, legs, and wing and facial features. Such ivory inlays adorned wooden fixtures such as funerary beds.


From Kerma, K439. January 1914: 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, 1920)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition