Samarian Ivory Carving

Stag Drinking Water

Stag Drinking Water, Samarian, circa ninth century B.C.E. Ivory, Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Photograph by Erich Lessing.

This naturalistic ivory carving of a drinking stag is from the ancient city of Samaria, a center of early Israelite civilization. The open-work carving is typical of the many luxury items archeologists have found in the ruins of Samaria. The low-relief carving shows a stag quietly drinking water. The sculptor beautifully captures the animals’ gentle eyes, antlers, and musculature.