Ivory inlay of a vulture

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K439


height x width x Depth14 x 3.6 x 0.3 cm (5 1/2 x 1 7/16 x 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This ivory inlay piece, one of several shaped as vultures with outstretched wings from the same tomb, would have adorned a wooden fixture such as a funerary bed. Details are rendered by incision: feathers are indicated by long notches along lower edge and small notches along the upper edge. Somewhat thinner lines are used for outlining body and facial details. The piece has cracked in several places, the largest one a vertical break slightly left of center.


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