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Funerary Mask of Wah

Period:
Middle Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 12
Reign:
early reign of Amenemhat I
Date:
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Wah (MMA 1102), Mummy, MMA excavations, 1920
Medium:
Cartonnage, wood, paint, gold foil
Dimensions:
H. 68 cm (26 3/4 in.); W. 33.2 cm (13 1/16 In.); D. 33.4 cm (13 1/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1940
Accession Number:
40.3.54
Not on view
In keeping with his important position as the estate manager of a wealthy nobleman, Wah's body had been carefully mummified and wrapped in hundreds of yards of linen. Within the wrappings were standard pieces of funerary jewelry (40.3.1–40.3.10), an array of personal jewelry (40.3.11, 40.3.15–40.3.19), and three exceptional scarab bracelets (40.3.12–40.3.14). Wah was also provided with this mummy mask, its face covered with gold foil. The rather pinched features are neither masculine nor feminine, the gender of the owner being indicated by a mustache and a full beard, which has been enhanced with a thin piece of wood jutting down from the chin. The natural hairline, including short sideburns, is visible along the forehead beneath the striped head-cloth. The chest of the mask has been painted with a broad collar made of tubular beads. The colors of the mask, in particular the gold skin and blue hair, are reminiscent of the Egyptian idea that the skin of the gods was gold and the hair was of lapis lazuli.
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.

Roehrig, Catharine H. 2015. "Funerary Mask of the Overseer of the Storehouse 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, p. 234, no. 171.

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.

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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