Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Scarab of the Storehouse Overseer Wah

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
reign of Amenemhat I, early
Date:
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Wah (MMA 1102), Mummy, over crossed wrists, MMA excavations, 1920
Medium:
Silver, electrum, glazed steatite, linen cord
Dimensions:
scarab: l. 3.9 cm (1 1/2 in.); w. 2.7 cm (1 1/16 in.); h. 2.5 cm (1 in.); barrel bead: l. 1.4 cm (9/16 in.); diam. 1 cm (3/8 in.); cylindrical bead: l. 1.9 cm (3/4 in.); 0.8 cm (5/16 in.) overall length: 43 cm (16 15/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1940
Accession Number:
40.3.12
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 105
The estate manager Wah was buried in a small tomb near the imposing one of his employer, Meketre, an important official who began his career under Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into early Dynasty 12. Wah's burial was found intact by the Museum excavators and the objects came to the Museum in the division of finds. In 1939, x-rays of Wah's mummy revealed the presence of jewelry and in 1940 the mummy was unwrapped. Among the jewelry were three scarab and bead bracelets (40.3.12-.14). All three were found in wrappings over the wrists of Wah's mummy.

This large silver scarab is of exceptionally fine workmanship. It was cast in several sections that were soldered together. Details on the legs, head, and wing cases and the scroll meander pattern on the base were chased. A gold suspension tube runs through the length of the scarab and the Inlaid hieroglyphs on the scarab's wing cases are electrum, an alloy of gold and silver. Their light color renders them almost invisible unless the scarab is tarnished. The inscription on the left wing case list Wah's name and his title "overseer of the storehouse" (more broadly speaking, "estate manager"). Those on the right name his employer, the "nobleman" Meketre.
Mummy of Wah excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920. Mummy unwrapped in New York, 1940.

Schorsch, Deborah 2001. "Precious Metal Polychromy in Egypt in the Time of Tutankhamun." In Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 87, pp. 59–60.

Ben-Tor, Daphna 2015. "Scarab of the Storehouse Overseer Wah." 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. 138–39, no. 70.

Oppenheim, Adela 2015. "Artists and Workshops: The Complexity of Creation." 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. 25.

Grajetzki, Wolfram 2015. "The Pharaoh's Subjects: Court and Provinces." 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. 122.

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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