About this object

Ivory panel of Gladiator fighting a wild animal. The right end is missing losing a large proportion of the animal’s body with the head and paw the only surviving parts of the animal left. There is a hole at the top left corner of the frame and three holes vertically on the left. The frame is plain and simple without decoration. Regular chisel-marks on reverse. The gladiator is wearing a cloak and tunic and in his right hand he uses a club as a weapon against the beast with a shield in his left hand pressed against the animal with force. His face is in side profile with his body twisted slightly to a front profile. There is a very strong diagonal line from the gladiator’s right foot which is stretched to the bottom right corner of the panel right up to his forehead. Another parallel line begins from his left toe to his left hand. These lines prove the gladiator’s power over the beast and the how the height of the frame squashes him into this position. There are groups of small vegetation on the ground to the left, centre and to the right. This particular ivory presents the competition between men and beasts and here it is clearly displayed that the gladiator is taking charge as he is evidently dominant allowing the beast only a small amount of room on the panel. Therefore, there is a slight irony in how the side the animal has been placed is the side that has been lost.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Alexandria
  • Date made
    4th Century AD - 5th Century AD
  • Materials
    Tooth Ivory
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Christie's auction house, 1969.
  • Collector
  • Place collected
    Africa: Northern Africa: Egypt: Alexandria
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    52 mm x 104 mm x 5 mm
  • Related people
    Christie's London ( Previous owner)

Explore related


  • 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.


  • Christie's Auction House Sale 4 March 1969

    Start date: 1969-03-04
    End date: 1969-03-04
    Description: Christie's Auction House Sale 4 March 1969


Previous owners

  • Christie's London

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1969-03-04
    Disposal method: Auctioned
Object view = Humanities
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