In Egypt the use of combs can be traced back more than five thousand years when they included in burials of both men and women, a custom that continued well into the Byzantine times when some burials document the practice of placing a comb on the chest of the deceased. Wood was the most common material used for making combs, Ivory examples like this one was luxury items, some perhaps intended for liturgical use.
This ivory comb, from the Byzantine Era (330 A.D.- 641 A.D.) with its fine quality and decoration suggests that it was rather used in a liturgical context than for every-day purposes. The central panel on one side shows two angles support a wreath inside of which a warrior on horseback. On the other side of the comb two New Testament Miracles: The Raising of Lazarus and the Healing of the Blind.
6th century A.D.
Provenance: Deir Abu Hinnis, Minya