Height: 42.300 cm
Width: 7.000 cm
Room 65: Sudan, Egypt & Nubia
Chair leg carved as a sphinx probably made of ebony
Late Period, 7th-4th centuries BC
Made in Nubia for the Egyptian market?
Egyptian furniture was often highly decorated, combining elaborate carving with inlays such as wood, ivory, glass, semi-precious stones and even gold. Striking effects could also be produced by using contrasting paints and filling in details with coloured pigments. Decorative woods such as ebony had to be imported into Egypt, where this resource was extremely limited. Tomb decoration shows that ebony, gold and other luxury items were brought as raw materials from further south in Africa, either as tribute or by trade.
combination of Egyptian and Nubian elements in this chair leg
suggests that it was made in Nubia for the Egyptian market. The
head of the sphinx has features characteristic of Nubians depicted
in Egyptian art but Egyptian sphinxes, with a human head and the
body of a lion, are always shown lying down. The pool with
The hieroglyphic inscription bestowing 'all power, all life and all health' to the owner is characteristic of inscriptions on royal monuments. This might suggest that the chair belonged to a member of the royal family.
S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)