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Reference sealing

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12
early reign of Senwosret I
ca. 1961–1954 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri, Tomb complex of Ipy (TT 315, MMA 516), Tomb of Meseh (MMA 516B), MMA excavations, 1922–23
L. 3 cm (1 3/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1925
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 106
Small lumps of clay were often used to seal goods or documents. They are called sealings. On one side they often bear an impression of the seal used, while another side can show an impression of the object itself or of its closing mechanism (such as a string). This lump of clay bears a seal impression, but its conical shape suggests that it was never attached to an object. It can therefore be identified as a reference sealing, which was used to verify the authenticity of sealings that were attached to documents or goods. Or it could have been used as proof of authorization for certain dealings. This reference seal was found together with two others (25.3.267a, c) and a third one (26.3.282) was discovered in another area of the same tomb. The reference sealing here shows an impression from the same seal as 26.3.282 that reads "Storehouse of Hathor."
Museum excavations 1922–23. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1925.

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