Figurine of a man

Period: Predynastic, early Naqada II

Date: ca. 3650–3450 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Ivory (elephant)

Dimensions: h. 6.5 x w. 2.2 x d. 0.9 cm (2 9/16 x 7/8 x 3/8 in.)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1954

Accession Number: 54.28.2


The earliest pieces of Egyptian sculpture represent men and women in formal poses. Figurines were made from mud or unbaked clay, ceramic, or ivory; details such as body hair, clothing, and tattoos were either incised or painted on the clay surface. This bearded man is made from the end portion of a hippo incisor. The features of his face and clothing(?) were incised into the ivory and filled with a black paste like substance. Figurines are very rare in this period of Egyptian art and little is known about their use in the Predynastic cultures that created them.