© Erich Lessing

Carved in the round from a single piece of ivory, two women form a handle, probably of a mirror or a similar object. The soft creamy tones of ivory closely resemble the warm beauty of human flesh.

Carving in the round limited the size of an object to the dimensions of the original piece of raw ivory. To make larger pieces an ingenious technique of joining was developed in Syria and Phoenicia by which pieces of ivory were connected by means of tongue and groove joints. In this manner, ivory could also be attached to other substances, such as wood.