4.-7. Jahrhundert

About the object

The Coptic slapstick is made of ivory. Such percussion instruments were usually made of wood in ancient Egypt. Owing to its pristine condition and as it has been made out of a valuable material, it is a very rare piece indeed.
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Music played a big role in ancient Egypt. To this day, cymbals and other percussion instruments are used in Coptic church services. Slapping is one of the elementary tools for generating sound. Usually, such instruments are made of wood. Only the more elaborate, presentation slapsticks used as grave goods were made of ivory. This ivory slapstick is very rare as it is fully preserved. The handle has been moulded to fit the contours of the hand and has been decorated with annules of various sizes and notched strips. Two sound covers decorated with diagonal lines and annules are attached to the handle and allow it to be used as a percussion instrument. The ivory slapstick was discovered in a tomb in Karara (Middle Egypt) dating back to late antiquity.

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