Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Amulet in the form of a head of an elephant

Period:
Predynastic, Naqada II
Date:
ca. 3500–3300 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt
Medium:
Serpentinite Bone
Dimensions:
h. 3.5 x w. 3.6 x d. 2.1 cm (1 3/8 x 1 7/16 x 13/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1959
Accession Number:
59.101.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 101
Few amulets from the Predynastic Period are known. In the past, Egyptologists identified these amulets as representing a bull's head, but the round face and eyes, the horns that curve inward to the face, and a snout with a defined ridge make a strong argument for its identification as an elephant. During this period, elephants lived in oasis-like zones in the high desert created by greater rainfall than today. They were probably a rare sight to floodplain dwellers, but their size, tusks, and aggressive displays made them an awe-inspiring creature and an excellent subject for a potent amulet.
Purchased by the Museum from Zaki Mohareb Todrous, Luxor, 1959.

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