"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Comb

datation
200-300 AD
provenance
Qasr Ibrim, 190km south of Aswan
area
period
materials
themes

This large comb, carved from a single piece of wood, with six long teeth (one of which is partly broken) and a cross-shaped handle incised with patterns; was found in the site of Qasr Ibrim. Its use is unknown. Did it serve an elegant woman to discipline long curly hair or was it used to comb wool? Its decoration points to the first hypothesis.

The care given to this object goes well with the idea of the importance placed on hairstyles (refer to the caption for Bust of a Woman). The general shape of the handle, which at the junction with the comb itself expands into a papyrus umbel, is reminiscent of a cross: perhaps due to a slight Christian influence. Hatch and cross patterns are common in Nubian art and also in Coptic art in the early centuries of our era. Nowadays, this type of comb with long teeth (fork comb) is used to gently untangle afro hairstyles.

see also