Romano-Egyptian Bone Figural Knife Handle


A rare figural Romano-Egyptian bone knife handle. The piece has been carved from a single bone fragment into a horse and rider, possibly holding a shield. The male rider sits astride the horse with his torso depicted in profile. Decorative elements have been inscribed to the hair in the form of a hatched pattern and to detail facial features.

Date: Circa 2nd - 5th century AD
Period: Coptic Period
Condition: Very fine. Partly missing at the riders shield and base knife entry point.


SKU: AH-926 Category: Tags: , ,

This particular handle is likely to have come from a clasp-knife, known as a ‘cultellus’. Clasp-knifes had been in use from the Iron-Age but went through a renaissance during the Roman period, when handle decoration became more elaborate. Figural scenes and figures were popular and included representations of gods, mythological heroes, gladiators and various animals. As the handle was carved from a single bone fragment we can ascertain that it came from a medium to large sized animal, allowing the sculptor enough room to carve his piece. It is an ornate piece and was most likely topped on a knife used to carve meat at the table, owned by a person of wealth.

Weight 4.3 g
Dimensions L 4.9 x W 1.9 cm





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