This small figurine representing an elephant and his mahout is from Meroë and dates to the Meroitic period. The animal proudly stands on four legs, ears flapping away from the face, and the trunk slightly bent back between two massive tusks- wait for the order to advance. A ring attached to the mahout’s head was used to suspend the object. The fact that he holds a shield shows us that we have here a war elephant.
The use of elephants in wars, as a sort of tank of Antiquity, was widely spread in the Hellenistic period. Just consider Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants or Alexander the Great fighting Porus at the gates of India. Hannibal used African Forest Elephants (Laxodonta cyclotis) whilst Alexander, before him, had recourse to Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). Read more about this object on the UNESCO Museums for Intercultural Dialogue website.