Ivory inlays of trees

Classic Kerma
about 1700–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K439


Height x width x depth: 2.7 x 2.4 x 0.3 cm (1 1/16 x 15/16 x 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



These ivory inlay pieces are from two originals chaped as trees. One tree has a single tier of brances. It is nearly complete. The other, in more fragmentary condition with some portions missing, seems to have had three tiers of branchs. For both trees, incised lines have been used to show sections of the trunks and upper foliage detailing. Such inlays were used to adorn wooden fixtures such as funerary beds.


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