7th Century BC


Iron Age II


Ivory, pigment, gold leaf
2 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (5.7 x 3.8 cm)

Object Number



This rare and exquisite ivory carving was the work of a skilled Syrian or Phoenician craftsman and was produced in the Levant, although the motif is Egyptian. It was not only carved in precious ivory but embellished with blue, red, and black pigments as well as gold leaf. It would have decorated a piece of furniture such as King Solomon's throne as described in the Bible (I Kings 10:18-20). The Phoenicians were renowned as artisans and were employed in the decoration of Solomon's famous temple. A number of these ivories were found in excavations at Nimrud by the archaeologist Max Mallowan and conserved by his famous wife, author of numerous mystery novels, Agatha Christie. These may well have come, at least in part, from the sack of Jerusalem by the Assyrians. It is difficult however to place many of these in context as examples have been found all over the Mediterranean and near east in Crete, Mesopotamia, Turkey, and Palestine. The subject matter is derived from Egyptian art-a winged sphinx dominating a Nubian captive-but by the first millennium B.C. such motifs had developed into an international style signifying the cosmopolitan taste of Near Eastern civilizations.

Credit Line

Gift of 2006 Veneralia Patrons in honor of Monique and Ferdinand Seefried


Monsters, Demons & Winged Beasts: Composite Creatures in the Ancient World, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - June 19, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, June 20, 2011 - Present
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 35.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2006.
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On View



“Inlay,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 3, 2020,

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