A Tusk Figurine of a Man, Ivory sculpture from Egypt, ca. 3900–3500 B.C.


Tusk figures belong to a group of abbreviated figurines made in the Predynastic Period. Such figurines emphasize only facial features and sexuality, while eliminating or schematizing limbs. Tusk figurines exploit a natural form –the tusk of a hippo– creating a male figure that radiates sexuality. This figurine is a superbly finished version of the type with the tusk’s tip carved into ring and a face and shoulders fashioned below. Although the eyes are only indicated by incised outlines with dots for pupils, the nose and mouth are well modeled.