Temple Graffiti: Animals and Plants

Graffito T15. Animal – Giraffe

Graffito T15

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This giraffe graffito, likely Meroitic in date, occupies the left central area of the block on which it is carved. Facing left, it is carved in simple outline, with a long neck extending upward. Faint lines for the legs and tail are worn, but can still be seen extending down from the body. The head is indicated with a shallow depression, but the rock is eroded in this area and any finer details have been lost. Marks to the lower left may indicate other, smaller animals accompanying the giraffe. Above the giraffe, the head and neck of another creature can be seen. This animal is carved at a much larger scale, but could be another giraffe, with a long neck, short face and muzzle (as compared to a horse), and short hatch marks at the back of the head, which could indicate the giraffe’s ears and horns. The rest of this other animal’s body has been lost.

Giraffes are common in rock art of the Middle Nile, but their significance is elusive. It is not clear, for example, that graffiti or rock art representations of giraffes can be taken as evidence that giraffes lived near the place of representation when the image was made. Images of giraffes might instead reference folktales or be meant to represent what Cornelia Kleinitz termed “the symbolic universe of the Meroitic world” when discussing such graffiti at Musawwarat es-Sufra.

  • Kurru ID number: 604
  • Location: Wall face E04-3:1
  • Dimensions (H × W): 18.5 × 20.5 cm