The Old Kingdom refers to Egypt, 3000 BC, when the country reached its first peak of civilization. However, historians date this comb to a few hundred years before that, and shows Egyptian art before recorded history.
It is an ivory ceremonial funeral comb of an elite person. Horizontal rows of animal figures suggest a style that became familiar in later Egyptian art. The choice of animals was not random, since elephants, snakes, birds, a giraffe, hyenas, and cattle appear on other carved ivory objects. The elephants standing on snakes may come from African creation myths, in which these two animals figure prominently. The comb resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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