- Museum number
Ivory game-box with carved decoration; assembled from six flat panels of elephant ivory. The squares on the top of the box seem to be arranged for the Egyptian game of "twenty squares". Each long side is decorated with animal scenes and scenes of the hunt.
On the better preserved of the two long sides a figure, perhaps a king, stands in a chariot drawing his bow in a Pharaonic posture. His charioteer controls the pair of horses pulling the light, two-wheeled chariot, while behind him a man on foot, wearing a feathered headdress, carries an axe, presumably to despatch any wounded prey or perhaps acting as a bodyguard. A third hunter, on the extreme left, also wearing what appears to be feathered headdress, stabs a lion with his spear. Five animals, apparently a mixture of deer, wild goats and bulls, flee the hunters, but a third, larger bull, pierced by an arrow, has turned with his head down to charge the oncoming chariot. A large bird is shown over the horses' backs, and a hunting dog runs beside the horses.
The other long side is similar in design but less detailed (and less well preserved), lacking the attendants, the dog and the charging bull: three caprids with curly horns run side by side in front of the chariot, with two more further ahead in the upper part of the field, both clearly wounded with arrows, the one on the extreme left turning to face their pursuer. Below these figures are two bulls, the rear one also wounded, running to the left. The ends of the box are decorated with carved animals in a more sedate, pastoral manner: one has a pair of bulls sitting quietly in front of a tree; the other two features two goats flanking a central tree.
- Production date
Height: 6.30 centimetres
Length: 29.10 centimetres
Width: 8.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The material was identified as elephant ivory by F. Poplin 2007. The underside of the box may also have had a set of gaming squares, but this was not able to be preserved during the excavation (for which see Murray et al. 1900, 31 and Tatton-Brown 2003, 31-2 [original field records]). For further details of the box within the broader repertoire of ivory items from Enkomi, see Courtois et al. 1986, 137-138. Caubet 2009 provides a detailed analysis of the iconography.
Courtois, J.-C., Lagarce, J. and Lagarce, E. 1986, Enkomi et le Bronze Récent à Chypre (Nicosia: A.G. Leventis Foundation).
Caubet, A. 2009, 'A tale of two cities. Le coffre en ivoire d'Enkomi et la coupe d'Ougarit'. In. T. Kiely (ed), Ancient Cyprus in the British Museum. Essays in Honour of Veronica Tatton-Brown. British Museum Research Publications 180 (London: British Museum Press), 57-62.
Tatton-Brown, V. 2003, 'Enkomi. The notebook in the British Museum'. CCEC 33, 9-96.
- On display (G72/dc20)
- Exhibition history
1977, London, BM, Animals in Art
2008-2009, 18 Nov-15 Mar, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.'
2014-2015, 15 Sep-4 Jan, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, From Assyria to Iberia
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number