Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Female figurine

Middle Kingdom–Early New Kingdom
Dynasty 11–18
ca. 2124–1504 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb of Neferhotep (TT 316; MMA 518), MMA excavations, 1918–19
Wood, ebony
H. 11.6 cm (4 9/16 in.); W. 3.3 cm (1 5/16 in.); D. 1.7 cm (11/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 109
This female figurine of imported ebony was found in the tomb of an archer named Neferhotep, along with two block statues, a quiver full of arrows, a fan handle of gilded wood, a club, and a shell. This type of figurine was an innovation of the Middle Kingdom; other examples wear jewelry and can be tattoed. Once interpreted as "concubines for the dead," they are now thought perhaps to be representations of sacred dancers involved in the cult of the goddess Hathor. A second such figurine was also found in the tomb; made of turqoise-colored faience, this second example has long hair, jewelry, and tattoos, all indicated with black paint.
Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in tombs at Deir el Bahri, 1922–23. Allotted to the Museum by the Egyptian Government in the division of finds.

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