Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Bow harp

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Date:
ca. 2030–1640 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, MMA excavations, 1918–19
Medium:
Wood, paint
Dimensions:
L. 81.4 cm (32 1/16 in); W. 26.4 cm (10 3/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
19.3.17
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 109
The harp, called benet in ancient Egyptian, was one of the most popular musical instruments throughout pharaonic history. This bow harp, among the oldest to have survived, is characterized by a long, curving neck and a shovel-shaped sound box. Originally covered by parchment or animal skin, the sound box would have resonated when the instrument’s five strings were plucked. Harpers played either alone or in ensembles with singers and other musicians.
Museum excavations, 1918–19. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1919.

Yamamoto, Kei 2015. "Bow Harp." 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. 157–58, no. 92.

Related Objects

Harp

Date: ca. 1700–1450 B.C. Medium: Wood Accession: 14.10.6 On view in:Gallery 113

Arched Harp (shoulder harp)

Date: ca. 1390–1295 B.C. Medium: Wood Accession: 43.2.1 On view in:Gallery 122

Headrest

Date: ca. 2030–1802 B.C. Medium: Wood Accession: 31.3.12 On view in:Gallery 106

Stela of Aafenmut

Date: ca. 924–889 B.C. Medium: Wood, paint Accession: 28.3.35 On view in:Gallery 126

Model of a Porch and Garden

Date: ca. 1981–1975 B.C. Medium: Wood, paint, copper Accession: 20.3.13 On view in:Gallery 105