• The Hunt Figurine

    The Hunt Figurine


Two things make this piece particularly special. First, it is extremely lifelike, especially when compared to other contemporary pieces, which generally have a stylised shape and patterned surfaces. In contrast to those, this deer is realistic and vigorous, its shape streamlined as it leaps to escape a now-lost predator or hunter.

The second point of interest is that this piece is unique, as hardly any three-dimensional wood carving survives from the Islamic Middle Ages. This piece poses the question: where and how would it have been displayed? One might imagine it adorning one of the Caliphal palaces of al-Qahira, the Fatimid capital, perhaps springing from the base of a larger sculpture or the leg of a royal chair.

Fatimid, Egypt
11th century
Carved wood