Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Relief with two officials or sons of the Vizier Dagi

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 11
Reign:
late reign of Mentuhotep II or later
Date:
ca. 2010–2000 B.C. or ca. 2000–1981 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Tomb of Dagi (TT 103, MMA 807), MMA excavations, 1911–12
Medium:
Limestone, paint
Dimensions:
L. 63 cm (24 13/16in.); H. 47.2 cm (18 9/16 in.); D. 7.7 cm (3 1/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
12.180.243
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 107
Dagi was a treasurer and vizier during the late years of Mentuhotep II (2010–2000 B.C.) and the reign of Mentuhotep III (ca. 2000–1988 B.C.). His rock-cut tomb, which has the traditional shape of a "saff"-tomb with a pillared facade, overlooked the Asasif valley (the eastern extension of Deir el-Bahri). Owing to the friable consistency of the rock, the massive pillars had to be strengthened with brick. Both the brick and rock segments of the pillars were covered with plaster and painted with scenes from daily life.

Unusually, the corridor into the interior started from the tomb facade, not from the transverse hall behind the pillars, as was the norm. It led to an interior offering chapel. Both the corridor and the chapel were cased in fine limestone and decorated with painted reliefs. The tomb was used in early Christian times as a monastery, and the casing blocks were, either at that time or earlier, taken down and smashed to pieces. Only a handful of fragments were recovered; the exceptionally fine relief forms a convincing link in the stylistic development from the earlier reliefs of the tomb of Khety (see 26.3.354*) to later reliefs from Lisht North (07.227.20).

Here two exquisitely adorned and made-up young men are squatting, each with one knee up. Their attitude is reverential, with their left hands on their right shoulders and their right hands gripping their left forearms.The preserved hieroglyphs read Saiset (Son of Isis), an early example of the use of the goddess Isis in a name. It is unclear whether these two men are sons of the tomb owner or high officials who served in his court.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1911-12. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds.

Kamrin, Janice 2015. "Relief of Two Officials or Sons of the Vizier Dagi." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 124, no. 58.

Kamrin, Janice 2015. "The Decoration of Elite Tombs: Connecting the Living and the Dead." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 28–29.

Arnold, Dieter and Adela Oppenheim 2015. "Excavations by The Metropolitan Museum of Art at Middle Kingdom Sites." In Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, edited by Adela Oppenheim, Dorothea Arnold, Dieter Arnold, and Kei Yamamoto. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 313.

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