Ivory inlay of a vulture

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K439


Height x width x depth: 14.5 x 6 x 0.3 cm (5 11/16 x 2 3/8 x 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This is an ivory inlay piece carved in the shape of a vulture with outstretched wings. Such inlays were often used for wooden fixtures such as funerary beds. Incised lines indicate feather patterns (long lines on lower wing edges and short, notched lines along the upper edge), legs, talon, and body outlines. The inlay piece is in fragmentary condition, but is nearly complete. The head has broken away and is missing, as is a portion of one leg.


From Kerma, tomb 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