Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Ax

Period:
Second Intermediate Period–Early New Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 17–Early Dynasty 18
Date:
ca. 1635–1458 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, Courtyard CC 41, Pit 2, Burial D 3, In coffin, MMA excavations, 1915–16
Medium:
Copper alloy, Wood, leather (modern)
Dimensions:
L. of axe: 54.5 cm (21 7/16 in); L. of axe blade: 14.4 cm (5 11/16 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1916
Accession Number:
16.10.403a–c
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 114
The blade of this battle ax is among the earliest examples of its kind. It was found in the coffin of “the overseer Khay,” presumably a military official. The handle was made from a branch or tree trunk chosen for its curvature. The flared end is a separate piece of wood, mounted with its grain direction perpendicular to that of the shaft. This method of construction would have preserved precious raw materials and cut down on labor. It is unclear how the two surviving pieces were originally joined and whether the modern, intermediate element was added to replace a component that did not survive or to compensate for disproportionate shrinkage of the wood shaft and terminal during burial. The leather lashing attaching the blade to the handle had disintegrated and was restored based on other, better preserved examples.
Museum excavations, 1915–16. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1916.

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