Model Cattle stable from the tomb of Meketre

Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 12
reign of Amenemhat I, early
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
From Egypt, Upper Egypt; Thebes, Southern Asasif, Tomb of Meketre (TT 280, MMA 1101), MMA 1920
Plastered and painted wood, gesso
l. 72.5 cm (28 9/16 in); w. 57 cm (22 7/16 in); h. 28.5 cm (11 1/4 in)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920
Accession Number:
  • Description

    This model of a stable was found with twenty three other models of boats, gardens, and workshops in a hidden chamber at the side of the passage leading into the rock cut tomb of the royal chief steward Meketre, who began his career under King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II of Dynasty 11 and continued to serve successive kings into the early years of Dynasty 12.
    Cattle are being fattened for slaughter in this stable. Four oxen feed from a manger in the large stall; two others are being hand fed by the stablemen from a pile of fodder and a sack of grain in the room in front. One of the cattle is so fat he can no longer stand. By the door sits an overseer with a baton in his hand.

    All the accessible rooms in the tomb of Meketre had been robbed and plundered already during Antiquity; but early in 1920 the Museum's excavator, Herbert Winlock, wanted to obtain an accurate floor plan of the tomb's layout for his map of the Eleventh Dynasty necropolis at Thebes and, therefore, had his workmen clean out the accumulated debris. It was during this cleaning operation that the small hidden chamber was discovered, filled with twenty-four almost perfectly preserved models. Eventually, half of these went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the other half came to the Metropolitan Museum in the partition of finds.

  • Provenance

    Excavated by the Egyptian Expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920. Acquired by the Museum in the division of finds, 1920.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History