Hair comb fragment - 973.24.1178_1


Hair comb fragment

Geography: Excavated at Gebel Adda, Egypt (ancient Nubia)
Date: c. 550-1400 AD
Period: Nubian Christian Period
7.8 × 3.9 × 0.4 cm
Object number: 973.24.1178
Credit Line: Gift of the National Geographic Society
Not on view

This type of wooden comb with two opposing rows of differently spaced teeth was introduced to Egypt from the Mediterranean world in post pharaonic period. This example is missing about 2.5-3 cm from one entire side. The tips of some of the teeth are also missing.

The original comb had an “H-shaped” frame with the uprights being about 7 mm across with rounded corners.  The central panel is about 1.8 cm across and  is marked by single incised horizontal lines at the edge of the teeth on both sides. The teeth on both sides taper to a point, so the comb is lentoid in section.  On one side 10 of a total of c. 18 widely spaced teeth are preserved; these finely carved teeth would have been used for untangling or combing out hair. On the opposite side some 22 out of c. 38 very closely spaced teeth are preserved; these very closely packed teeth could be used to smooth or touch up a coiffure, or perhaps to comb out lice from the hair.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.