About this object

Furniture inlay panel of ivory with two holes, one hole in the bottom right corner which is filled, and another hole at the top left corner which is hollow. There is a representation of a vase at the centre bottom with plants growing out of it and spreaing over the entire panel. The circular shapes at the top of the bone panel create symmetry as they link together on an equal level. Radio-carbon dating confirms the authenticity of the piece, but indicates that it was cut after the Islamic conquest of Egypt (639 AD). The limits are: probable - AD 656/855, virtually certain AD 605/943. The panel thus belongs to a well-defined type of 'abstract plant designs' which were deemed more appropriate than human figures in the new Islmaic art.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date made
    600 AD - AD 900 AD
  • Materials
    Tooth Ivory
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Henry S Wellcome
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt
  • Date collected
    1900s early
  • Measurements
    81 mm x 36 mm x 6 mm
  • Related people
    John Sunley Comins ( Agent and employee of Wellcome Historical Medical Museum); W M A Reid ( Previous owner); Wellcome Historical Medical Museum ( Previous owner); Henry Solomon Wellcome ( Collector, previous owner)

Explore related


  • Heliopolis, Kafr Ammar and Shurafa

    Petrie, William Matthew Flinders; Ernest Mackay

    Author: Petrie, William Matthew Flinders; Ernest Mackay
    Publisher: British School of Archaeology in Egypt
    Date: 1915
    Description: Publication of the excavations carried out during the winter season 1911-12 by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt. Contains chapters by G. A. Wainwright, R. Engelbach, D. E. Derry and W. W. Midgley.

  • Radiocarbon dating of ivroy and bone carvings

    Gibson, M T; Southworth, E C

    Author: Gibson, M T; Southworth, E C
    Date: 1990

  • The Liverpool Ivories: Late Antique and Medieval Ivory and Bone Carving in Liverpool Museum and the Walker Art Gallery

    Gibson, Margaret

    Author: Gibson, Margaret
    Publisher: HMSO; National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside
    Date: 1994
    Description: Catalogue of ivory and bone carvings from late antique and medieval held in collections of Liverpool Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.


  • Sotheby's Auction House Sale 17 November 1924

    Start date: 1924-11-17
    End date: 1924-11-17
    Description: Sale of objects, which were purchased, in part, by Sir Henry Wellcome.


Previous owners

  • Wellcome Historical Medical Museum

    Owned from: 1934-12-17
    How acquired: From Henry Solomon Wellcome
    Owned until: 1981
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Solomon Wellcome

    Owned from: 1934-12-17
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1936-06-25
    Disposal method: Donation
  • W M A Reid

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1934-12-17
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
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