Hair comb - 973.24.2185_1


Hair comb

Geography: Excavated at Gebel Adda, Egypt (ancient Nubia)
Date: c. 1000-1400 AD
Period: Late Nubian Christian Period
7.4 x 6 x 1.1 cm
Object number: 973.24.2185
Credit Line: Gift of the National Geographic Society
Not on view

This type of comb is characteristic of the medieval period in Egypt.  It is made of a hard dark wood, possibly kariti or shea butter wood.  This example is worn smooth, worm-eaten, damaged and missing part of one side.  There is single row of over fifty very thin teeth which must have been cut with a very fine metal blade.  These teeth are about 3 cm long and in section taper down to a point. Although only preserved on one side, a centimeter wide panel at each end would have provided some protection to the narrow teeth from damage.  The back of the comb forms a centimeter thick triangular pointed arch.  At each side of the base of the triangle, near where it meets the teeth, is an incised concentric circle motif.  Some sort of a compass would have been used to make these incised circles.  This sort of decoration is very common in medieval period objects from Egypt. (S.B. Shubert)

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