This masterpiece of Egyptian wood carving was discovered in a hidden chamber at the side of the passage leading into the rock cut tomb of the royal chief steward Meketre, who began his career under King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into the early years of Dynasty 12. Together with a second, very similar female figure (now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo) the statue flanked the group of twenty two models of gardens, workshops, boats and a funeral procession that were crammed into the chamber's narrow space. Setting her left leg slightly forward the woman carries on her head a square basket with food steadying the load with her left raised hand. In her right she holds a live duck by its wings. The figure's iconography is well known from reliefs of the Old Kingdom where rows of offering bearers were depicted marching into a tomb or along its walls. Place names were usually written beside each figure making the row of offering bearers a list of agricultural estates destined to provide sustenance for the deceased tomb owner in perpetuity. As the personification of an estate, not just a simple servant carrying food the present figure is richly adorned with jewelry and wears a garment made out of bird feathers. The two figures - this one and its companion in Cairo - might even be reminiscent of the two goddesses Isis and Nephthys who are often depicted flanking the deceased' s coffin or bier. The figure in Cairo is represented wearing a bead net garment. All the accessible rooms in the tomb of Meketre had been robbed and plundered already during Antiquity; but early in 1920 the Museum's excavator, Herbert Winlock, wanted to obtain an accurate floor plan of the tomb's layout for his map of the Eleventh Dynasty necropolis at Thebes and, therefore, had his workmen clean out the accumulated debris. It was during this cleaning operation that the small hidden chamber was discovered, filled with twenty-four almost perfectly preserved models. Eventually, half of these went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the other half came to the Metropolitan Museum in the partition of finds.