Leg from a piece of furniture

Early Dynastic Period, Dynasty 1, reign of Djet
2880–2873 B.C

Findspot: Egypt, Abydos, Tomb of Djet


Overall: 3 x 1.8 cm (1 3/16 x 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Egypt: Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic (Gallery 105A)


The Ancient World



Discovered in First Dynasty king Djet’s luxuriously appointed tomb in the royal cemetery at Abydos, this diminutive and delicately crafted leg from a piece of furniture demonstrates the sophistication and technical ability achieved by royal workshops at an early date. Carved from hippopotamus ivory, it takes the form of the rear leg of a bull or cow atop a horizontally ribbed cylinder. Legs of this type are known from a variety of furnishings, including beds and stools, but the small size and material of this example suggest that it was part of a box or chest made of wood inlaid with ivory. Typically, the front and back legs would be carved to represent the fore and rear legs, respectively, of the animal. This leg must therefore come from the back of the chest. Whether it was used in the royal palace or made specifically for use in the tomb is uncertain.


From Abydos, tomb of Djet. 1901: excavated by William Matthew Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund, assigned to the Egypt Exploration Fund in the division of finds by the government of Egypt, received by the MFA through subscription to the Egypt Exploration Fund. (Accession Date: October 1, 1901)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription