Ivory inlays of gazelle heads

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K1090


Width x length x thickness: 3.6 x 2.2 x 0.4 cm (1 7/16 x 7/8 x 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This is a group of five ivory inlay pieces carved in the shape of gazelle heads, rendered in profile. Three are missing their necks, while on two the necks remain. Incised lines of varying thickness are used for eyes, mouths and noses. On one example the mouth appears to have been carved out more definitely. A vertical line distinguishes between two curved horns that are also accented with short slanted lines/notches on the upper edge. The tips of the horns on two pieces have slight chips. The ivory is flaking away on some pieces, and some show discolored areas.


From Kerma, tomb K1090. March 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