Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Whip Handle in the Shape of a Horse

New Kingdom
Dynasty 18
reign of Amenhotep III
ca. 1390–1353 B.C.
From Egypt
Ivory, garnet, paint
L.. 14.6 (5 3/4 in); H. 5.5 (2 3/16 in); Th. 1.8 cm (11/16 in)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 119
The horse was a relative latecomer to Egypt. It was introduced in the Second Intermediate period during the Hyksos domination of northern Egypt (ca. 1667–1570 B.C.E.), when new elements of warfare, notably the horse and chariot, were brought from the Near East. During the New Kingdom, this animal became a familiar sight, and there were many depictions of horses in art, particularly during the Amarna period.

This small ivory handle of a light whip or fly whisk is carved in the form of a prancing or running horse stained reddish brown with a black mane. The eyes, one of which has fallen out, were inlaid with garnet. The lively carving of this piece, especially the gracefully arched back, typifies the ability of Egyptian artists to evoke the essential qualities of animals. It also exemplifies the fine quality attained in the decorative arts during the reign of Amenhotep III.
Acquired by Lord Carnarvon (d. 1923). Carnarvon Collection. Collection acquired by the Museum from Lady Carnarvon 1926.

Phillips, Dorothy W. 1942. Ancient Egyptian Animals, Picture Books (Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, fig. 39.

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