Magic Wand



Magic Wand




1980-1760 BC


Middle Kingdom


13 3/8 x 2 1/4 in. (34 x 5.7 cm)

Object Number



Ivory wands or knives such as this are found in tombs in the Middle Kingdom but may have been used in life as well. They are decorated with images of protective deities, and it has been suggested that they were used to draw a line in the sand around where someone was sleeping to ward off snakes and other harmful creatures.|

They are usually made from the incisors of hippopotami, and the shape follows the curve of the tooth. This example has a tip carved from the shape of a fox's face, and the ivory has been colored black. The wands would have served to protect the dead as well as the sleeping and appear to have often been ritually broken at the time of burial.

Credit Line

Purchased by the friends, colleagues, and students of Dr. Peter Lacovara in recognition of his 10th anniversary at the Michael C. Carlos Museum


Monsters, Demons & Winged Beasts: Composite Creatures in the Ancient World, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - June 19, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, June 20, 2011 - July 2012|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, May 14, 2013 - Present


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2012.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Magic Wand,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 20, 2019,

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